86 Comments

  1. thegreenlatina
    July 19, 2012 @ 11:14 am

    I’ve learned that the only way to be successful while doing your own thing is to find a niche market. So in this vast blogging world I would guess the same applies.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 19, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

      Thanks for plowing through all of that… I realize it was a REALLY LONG post. (And utterly off-topic from my usual house-related stuff.) But I figured it was interesting and important in some measure, and that the experience was worth sharing.

      I guess that’s the great thing about the blog world— you can find blogs in any niche, and find a community. (But seeing yourself as successful compared to people with hundreds of Twitter followers is a little difficult!!)

      Reply

  2. The Smile Scavenger
    July 19, 2012 @ 11:44 am

    Bleh. I don’t know. It’s all rather overwhelming for me, too. To be honest, I started my blog as a personal journal. Somehow people started finding/reading it from time to time and I never expected it to work like that. Now I feel all pressured to keep making people like my stuff.

    I guess I could use social media to promote if I could get over the gag reflex I have when thinking about the word “tweet”. Small sacrifices. I’ll be sort of like a lactose-intolerant girl at fancy restaurant gorging on cheese in order to show everyone else at the table that she has good taste…

    Anyway, the deification of social media makes me all anxious too.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 19, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

      You know? I’m really enamored of the alternate-universe version of myself where I flit around tweeting and having hundreds of people care that I am feeding my cat… Kind of like how I am enamored of pretending that I am Ava Gardener and that Frank Sinatra will be coming over soon.

      In a lot of ways, this blog has made me a lot more “social” than I normally am. I’ve interacted with more strangers in the last three months than I have in an entire year.

      If there were an un-social media, I could totally get into that!!

      Reply

  3. Susan
    July 19, 2012 @ 11:52 am

    Sounds like you learned a couple interesting and a lot of boring tips. (And, you’ve successfully talked me out of ever looking into an event like this. People tweeting while they’re talking to you! Jeez.)

    In my experience, my favorite blogs (to read) are kind of personal (not as in tons of personal information, but rather about topics that are personal to the writer). Like – I don’t want to know your drama – but I do want to know your pet’s name. I also keep reading when I feel like I “get” the writers tone/jokes/vision/whatever. And lots of pictures. Especially of house stuff – seeing other people’s houses helps me organize my own thoughts and ideas.

    I’ll quit reading a blog when it starts to feel like the writer is trying to make a buck off blogging. (Especially young moms – why aren’t you just hanging out with your kid?).

    I’m surprised about the push for Google+, I WISH things felt like they were moving in that direction, but I don’t really see evidence of it? At least not in my internet world.

    Phew.
    Anyway: interesting review of the whole scene.

    For now, I’ll keep reading your blog, until you make me print out a coupon.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 19, 2012 @ 5:21 pm

      Susan—
      Yours is the same as my ideal blog description… personal, fun, house-project oriented… And I’ve lost a few of my favorite blogs to the slow decay of:
      A—them running out of stuff to write about and boring me with posts about snack options.
      B—when they start writing with an eye towards advertisers.

      About the Google+ stuff… I literally do not know what it is. But according to those who claim to know, soon we will all be enthralled. Unless something new and better comes along first.

      No coupons. Unless it’s to Home Depot. In which case, I’d most likely keep them all for myself.

      Reply

  4. vintagekaren
    July 19, 2012 @ 11:55 am

    Enjoyed this post!! I’ve been thinking about my blog now that it’s almost one year old and I’m at post #50. I have a small, but devoted following, and would really like to expand my readership…okay, making $$ from blogging would be cool, but I’m more interested in “touching” people. I do use FB to publicize my posts. Not sure what else I’m going to do!

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 19, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

      A year is certainly a milestone! Congratulations!

      When I got home, I looked up some of the other blogger’s sites. Lots of people are trying to make money. Which I don’t have an issue with—blogging is a surprising amount of work, and if you can get some advertisers good for you…

      But the ones that clearly exist exclusively for the possibility are just weird… I cannot imagine who is reading them!!

      Reply

  5. philosophermouseofthehedge
    July 19, 2012 @ 11:58 am

    the important thing is to write

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 19, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

      True. Or collate pretty pictures from the Internet. People seem to like that just as well.

      Reply

      • philosophermouseofthehedge
        July 19, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

        Yeah – I guess OK for summer – but tends to get boring and predictable after a while – there’s always an audience looking for something interesting to read.

        Reply

        • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
          July 20, 2012 @ 8:15 am

          No, no… I agree with your first comment—write.
          My response was sarcastic. (Although, I do like the pretty pictures.)

          Reply

  6. Stacey
    July 19, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

    Wow, you just blew my mind! (which means a very long comment coming….) Love your pretty facebook flowers by the way!

    I would say that you are definitely doing great with your “goal”. Your writing is wonderful, sweet, funny, and real. (of course everything in the blogging world is fake (kidding)… but you’re about as real as it can get in my opinion) I can only speak for myself but your blog is definitely worth reading and I can always relate to every post.

    I have very mixed feelings about social media as I drive to work and almost get in 3 wrecks only to pass the clueless drivers and see they are on their smart phones doing God knows what (facebook, twitter, texting… who knows). Didn’t it make you feel bad that someone you were trying to engage with face to face was constantly looking at their phone only interested in whatever was happening on their twitter account instead of the intelligent, funny, interesting person standing right in front of them in “REAL LIFE”. That would have hurt my feelings… but I can be very sensitive.

    I think it’s bad! I believe in time we will regret the technology and all it takes from us. Sure, it gives some really cool things… but we are missing out on so much. There I said it! (don’t hate me)
    I have a blog (that sucks up my time, no doubt) and my goal was to have fun and document a very huge undertaking in our lives. I knew I wanted to have a way to record and relive the experience and blogging sort of forces you to “stay on top of it”…. so you keep up with the photos and the stories and you build something that means so much to you. Eventually the world is going to find you… which is nice if you’re truly interested in the topic. If not, who cares… go somewhere else (go tweet someone). So if it’s true that many of your readers will abandon you, is all that time doing “social media” really worth it? Wouldn’t you rather be gardening, or picking out tile, or drinking wine with your spouse over a lovely dinner.

    So to end my rant and answer your final questions…. yes, I’m accomplishing everything I wanted by just having my blog and I’m having a great time! Do I use or need social media to get there? No.
    No twitter, no facebook, no linkedin, no pinterest, nothing but my blog. Good grief I have no idea how people can do all that. Seriously, do they sleep? Do they have nannies, maids, personal chefs? Ha Ha! Blogging has allowed me to meet wonderful people just like you, Victoria. People with similar interests and goals. It’s just a bonus in my opinion. Keep up the great posts…. you’re doing everything right in my opinion! No seminars necessary.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 19, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

      Stacey,
      The Twitter thing was definitely weird. Typically I would be really bothered by something like that. But in this case I was already maxed-out on feelings of discomfort, so I couldn’t have a normal response to it. It was like I was in an alternate reality—where it’s completely normal and expected to do four things at once. And I was the weirdo, not them.

      I was really serious about only being friends with my brothers and best-friend on Facebook. Even thought I understand that’s not how you’re supposed to use it, it was appealing to my hermit-side. The idea of sharing my Facebook page with the world (whatever small corner of it that my blog inhabits) is a good exercise for me in being more open in general… Plus, my blog is entirely personal. So it kind of made sense to attach my Facebook page. It’s already there, I might as well link the two…

      As far as the time-sink… I am ASTOUNDED at how much time I’ve spent on this blog!! And I’m not exactly churning out the posts. I have NO idea how anyone has time to add more channels to their media exposure.

      I totally agree with you that all of this is a potential blackhole of time-wasting. Not the actual posts themselves… But I have wasted a mindboggling amount of time looking at OTHER things while theoretically putting them together. (Not to mention consuming other blogs… )

      Thanks for all your thoughts. I feel way less deficient now about not being a Twitter-Ninja!!

      Reply

  7. Vanessa (@IsleStyleLiving)
    July 19, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

    Even though this was a looooong post I read every word =)

    I suck at social media- I just don’t have the energy to keep up with my blog, twitter, facebook, etc… Except Pinterest, though. I love Pinterest!

    Thanks for teaching me something new: I didn’t realize that readership turned every 3 months. I guess it’s true. There’s only a handful of blogs I read today that I inspired me to start a blog over a year ago!

    And printables? Eh, maybe I’m just a lazy blogger. I don’t don’t print anything out. (I just PIN it!)

    I always wanted to go to a blogging seminar but now I’m not too sure. I also have social anxiety but I’m also very awkward so… I’d probably just back out.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 19, 2012 @ 5:50 pm

      I know! It’s SO LONG! You should have seen the original page length. It took me just as long to take out half of it as it did to write it in the first place. I probably should have chopped out another half… but I got so tired of working on it that I stopped caring!

      If there’s a seminar near you, and you have any interest, you should go. Even if it’s weird and awkward, it does make you think about blogging differently… which can only be a good thing—to get a different perspective.

      I love Pinterest too. I actually try to STAY away from it. I’ll use the pin-it button for good ideas, but whenever I go to the actual site I lose track of hours and end up feeling numb and stupid.

      Reply

      • nancy vecchione
        April 25, 2013 @ 8:20 am

        Tweeting while talking to me… the ultimate in bad manners! Of course that could be because I can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, let alone talk and tweet! So I expect people to listen to all the pearls of wisdom coming out of my mouth (with the food inserted in it!) But I’m very much an ‘in the moment’ person, so if I’m at a conference the likelihood is I am not tweeting while talking. I need a corner alone to be able to do things ‘like that.’ What I learned at a recent seminar is that almost all bloggers are introverts…just like me! Wow! It’s why we write so much–we don’t mind sharing but all this ‘in person stuff’ is HARD! OK, so writing can be hard too but not in the same way. No worry about social awkwardness, no worry about your jewelry or makeup, etc. etc. etc. Google+? Please! Take it away! Too confusing! I’m still trying to master facebook and twitter! Don’t make me change!!!! Please! So you aren’t the only one struggling w/social media hype, and thank god we can blog w/out it, we may not get rich, but we’ll have fun.

        Reply

  8. the home tome
    July 19, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

    Thanks for this informative post and for generating a good discussion!

    I took a Search Engine Optimization class last year and the message was similar – Social Media is God. But I, too, am ambivalent. On the one hand, when I put my blog posts on my facebook page barely anyone notices. But when I tell everyone something rather mundane, ie. that I won $7 in the lottery everyone comments and gives me a virtual high five. I have to say, though, that in my goal yesterday, of getting the word out about my book, it was KEY – people came out of the woodwork to help me and get behind the cause. It was surprising and cool and I could really see that there was a social web on the web, if that makes sense! I can’t bear the thought of using twitter (for the reasons that Stacey cites above). And I do love Pinterest, but I don’t think I’m using it as a publicity tool…yet. Maybe I will work on that, because I do inherently enjoy using the site.

    I blog to HAVE FUN, follow my muse, and share my ideas/photos with people. This is my third blogging venture and has been the most gratifying, or closest to my heart. I started writing when I was seven and really have never stopped – I could never have predicted the invention of the blog but now I can’t imagine my life without it!

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 19, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

      I left at the end of the day feeling struck dumb—by the importance of social media. And how it is changing EVERYTHING. There is an entire other WORLD that I am ignorant of. I was actually alarmed by the idea that Google would start showing me search results based on how many Facebook followers a website had.

      Up until this seminar, I very much thought of Twitter, and even Facebook to an extent as “kid” stuff. I’m bad with ages, but I’d guess the average age at this seminar was maybe 32? So to see an entire group of my age-peers Tweeting, and talking about the importance, as a given, was really jarring. (I don’t view Pintrest in the same category as Twitter—probably because I love it, rather than being frightened of it…)

      It also made me feel like any blog without a strong social media presence is doomed to irrelevancy. Which after some space and time, doesn’t bother me as much. I mean, irrelevant to what after all? But it took a while to wear off.

      Thanks for your thoughts… I can imagine you don’t have much time for commenting on other people’s blogs, when you obviously need to be admiring your Amazon page!!

      Reply

  9. Linn @ The Home Project
    July 19, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

    Hi Victoria, I got exhausted just reading your post! When everybody in the world starts doing the same thing, it kind of looses its appeal I think. I’m not saying that twitter and facebook and pinterest etc etc…. aren’t useful and can’t help drive traffic, but aren’t everybody getting just a bit too hyper?

    I highly doubt that whole three month turnover readership claim. That really makes no sense to me: If I find a blog that I like, I most likely won’t start disliking it after three months, unless I didn’t really like it to begin with, and then I wouldn’t last three months in the first place… Or am I just different from other people?

    I also think you really have to enjoy blogging, and then it shouldn’t matter whether you have a lot of readers or not. Because if you enjoy writing your blog, then that’s the reason you’re doing it. And if you’re writing to make money, which a lot of people do, then hopefully they like writing their blog to begin with, or else how are they going to keep it up?

    Let your expectations down a bit. You obviously write because you like to write (and you’re really good at it too:)) I doubt you would enjoy it anymore if you had a few more facebook friends.

    I’m sure the seminar was useful for some people, but it seems like they were mostly harping on the same stuff that everybody is doing, and sure all the social media is important, but that’s only ONE aspect to writing and maintaining a blog. I agree with Stacy: “So if it’s true that many of your readers will abandon you, is all that time doing “social media” really worth it? Wouldn’t you rather be gardening, or picking out tile, or drinking wine with your spouse over a lovely dinner. ”

    My main goal with my blog is to document all the projects with do. When I first started writing it, it was more of a project list diary, and then I thought it would be kind of cool to intersperse that with some more “blogging” techniques like some general life posts and not only step 1 we did this and step 2 we did that. I just love having a record to check back on. Plus I take so many pictures all the time, it would be no fun if I didn’t put them up anywhere! I love when I get comments or links back, but primarily I think it’s so much fun to document everything I do for future reference. Then if anybody except me wants to read it, then that’s a great bonus. I made a twitter account not too long ago, and I think it’s fun to play around with sometimes, however it can also be kind of overwhelming at the same time… I’m purposely not on facebook mainly because I’m not interested in someone commenting on my fifteen-year-old self. But then again, I can kind of go back and forth on that too.

    Whew, this became kind of a long comment! Great to read all the other comments and what a fun discussion to start!

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 19, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

      Linn,
      Of all the well-thought out things you wrote, this is what I’m going to latch onto first: I must sound like a crazy person about my fifteen-year-old self!! LOL. Mostly I’m not interested in anyone I knew when I was fifteen. With the GLARING exception of Michael Macaluso. I assumed everyone had one of him, but…errrr… maybe I should have kept that to myself.

      I guess the three-month thing also struck me as a variable that could be interpreted a lot of ways… and with varying degrees of importance. The factoid came at pretty much the exact end of my first three months of blogging, so to me it was like, oh great—now I’m going to have to start all over!!

      And you are right. All of that is only one aspect of blogging. And depending on your perspective, maybe the least important. But being in a room FULL of people obsessively discussing social media, followers, fans… is really distracting and will absolutely make you rethink that!

      I can see the appeal of Twitter. At its best, it would be hysterical. Do you Tweet your posts? If I ever get on there, I will follow you. (At least I picked up some Twitter lingo, so now I don’t sound like an idiot!)

      Reply

  10. dramaqueenseams
    July 19, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

    Good to know… Thanks for the info.

    Reply

  11. Shirley T.
    July 19, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

    Heavy sigh……I have no desires to profit from my personal blogs….Yeah, I said blogS…..I have a tumblr for my dogs ( all three children away in college wanted to be kept up to date on the dogs, they said they missed the dogs the most)….I have a tumblr for anything I want, I have a blog for my attempt at minimalism, my renovation blog and I have one blog I call my “SAD” blog which was for me when I went through a very sad time, and whined, cried and bitched endlessly for almost a year…..I don’t share that blog….gee I wonder why?

    I have a web site, unfinished no less, for when I was painting actively, So I have a face book page for my painting (small, er tiny business because I was told…”you got to USE social media”

    Oh shit. I forgot my other blog I started when I was paranoid about identity and privacy – that was was in 2007. My name isn’t on it anywhere.

    I have twitter…..follow me unpacktherat, I’ll follow you back – please everyone follow me…..I rarely go there. But my blogs posts are automatically tweeted by WordPress.

    Sorry to be long winded but it gets worse- much worse.

    In real life – work life- I am involved with two companies. One old and the other a new start-up. Guess what I have to do for them? I have to Tweet, blog, and FB. I and not doing a very good job of it atm.

    I am not buying the hype – laughing at myself……..however,for business I do believe at this point in time it has to been utilized, for personal blogs not so much.

    I have no goals other than to live better with less.

    Ya’ think I should have less blogs?

    http://unpacktherat.com/2011/09/23/not-quite-the-the-cat-in-the-hat/

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 19, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

      I am laughing at the minimalist with twenty blogs and some tumblrs!! What! How do you have time for anything else? Guess what? You’ve just been elevated to “blog expert” status. Maybe you should start a blog-consulting blog!!

      There was a lot of talk about businesses wanting to connect with social-media drivers. Meaning, businesses wanting to use bloggers to reach their following. I guess that’s the same as any other advertising. But it sounds pretty skeevy.

      Recently I read a sponsored post for a mattress… which? I do not know what you would have to pay me to write a post about getting a free mattress, and then post it on my blog for the world to read… but? A free mattress would not do the trick.

      Reply

      • The Wedding Queen
        August 2, 2012 @ 11:05 am

        Laughing at the commentary! I have 20+ blogs–yes, I know it’s a sad comment on my probably inability to commit (ya think?) or my scattered thinking (someone a long time ago asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, still haven’t figured it out, like blogs I change or add something often.)
        The funny thing is the reason I have blogs at all is I was SO FAR out of the social media world I had no idea what BLOGGER was, so I started using it as a filing cabinet for my email for my daughter’s wedding! Then couldn’t figure out quite why people talked to my files! Now I’m trying to condense them so I’ll have fewer blogs (oh joy!) And I won’t be up writing at 3 AM (which is why sometimes when you read my blog it sounds uh….jumbled.)
        RE: your house: I am so glad you bought the house! My husband promised to rip out some wallpaper and repaint in the house we bought uh…nearly 30 years ago–it’s a good thing I wasn’t waiting on him! Alas, I lack the skill to pull off a project the size you are–I am in awe! And love your writing btw. (see, even my comments are scattered!) The good thing about my husband… he doesn’t know the difference in the kinds of paint, and anyone who doesn’t paint gets no say in gloss/semi/matte.

        About the tweeting manics, I’ve figured at my advanced age of 59, I’m so old I really can’t SEE that little screen on my cell phone so I can opt out of tweeting my way thru conferences and just join in NORMAL conversations. (if conversations with me are ever normal!) But if people get too crazy about dying for a coupon…just add one at the end of each post, who cares what it is for, half the coupons out there are for useless things anyway.

        So blog away, look for me at conferencess (I’m the one not tweeting) and who is older than most of the rest of the crowd. Alas, if someone had to categorize me it wouldn’t be as a ‘mommy blogger’… even agewise I’d have to be a ‘grandmommy blogger!’

        So if you want to read my wedding blogs, head to http://theweddingqueen.blogspot.com or if you want to read my favorite blog, try http://defeatingthesquirrels.blogspot.com. There’s a list of my wedding blogs on the front page of the first wedding blog posted.

        I will cut down. I will edit. I will … you get the picture!

        Reply

  12. Shirley T.
    July 19, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

    Did they mention Chimp Mail?

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 19, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

      Oh lord. What? No.
      Or if they did, it went right over my head.

      Reply

      • Shirley T.
        July 19, 2012 @ 10:15 pm

        Chimp mail: free email service up to a certain number. I am finding more bloggers are trying it. I think it’s an effort to acquire an email list – it’s super targeted data – I am sure there is a plan of someones to buy these lists…. maybe that’s the paranoid side of me…but really I always remember “nothing is free.”

        Reply

  13. Garden, Home and Party
    July 19, 2012 @ 9:39 pm

    Victoria,
    Your post was enlightening. I was relieved to realize you (and many of your readers) are like-minded when it comes to social media, I thought it was my age (which is way older than you) and sort of beat myself up about not really wanting to use FB and T. My son, who set up my blog insisted I open a FB and T linked to my blog and somehow it has a personal side, which I never use. I’m like the parents in the commercial where the girl says she made her parents join FB and they have 16 friends, “so sad”. Like you I don’t write anything that I wouldn’t want anyone to read on anything, including my blog.

    I think your blog is entertaining and for that I’m a devoted fan. I also think, when I read your posts, that we share some of the same interests, which is why I read…I figure we’re blog friends!

    I have a google+ account, thanks to same son and honestly, I don’t know how to use it or what it’s supposed to be for. I think I have 4 friends there and 3 are my two sons and husband.
    I work full time, its all I can do to come up with a few creative topics (hopefully) a few times a month. I work as an executive assistant and the blog is my creative outlet. I don’t expect to earn money doing it…hey if they just gave me money for blogging I can’t say I’d turn it down if it didn’t require endorsements. 🙂
    Such a fun topic and so many great comments.
    Karen

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 20, 2012 @ 9:39 am

      Karen,
      I’m actually surprised by the responses. I was expecting most people to say they did use (at least) FB a lot… it does seem like blogging and Facebook would go together—they’re both essentially social activities. Now I’m thinking that it has a lot to do with whether you monetize your blog or not.

      Like I said, most of the bloggers at this seminar were geared towards making money. And to that end, I guess businesses want to work with people who have the ability to reach a lot of people… My interpretation of that was—why should bread companies and baby-food vendors have all the fun? And to assume that personal-bloggers would be using the same tools to grow their blogs, despite not being paid.

      It did inspire me to really get on Facebook and interact… and I immediately had one of the most meaningful, random exchanges I’ve had in a LONG time. So, if nothing else, I now think that Facebook IS a valuable tool—if not for the same reasons I’d gone into it for.

      Reply

  14. jennifer wingert
    July 20, 2012 @ 11:00 am

    I hear you Victoria Elizabeth Barnes. I have two followers on twitter, three on pinterest and a couple hundred on Facebook (seems deceptively impressive). The only things I have posted on Facebook since I started my blog are links to my blog posts, which my hundreds of “friends” find both presumptuous and irritating. I just can’t stand social media. I’m as bad at it as I am annoyed by it, and that is really, really, REALLY bad. I guess my antisocial tendencies include the World Wide Web, who knew? My sister, who has a successful blog and internet business, says I need these things to increase readership, but I think I’ll just continue being extremely witty, intelligent and thought-provoking and wait to be discovered like the sparkly little diamond I am.

    2. Though I did read the whole entire thing, your long post makes me feel inadequate.

    C. What, no coupon?

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 20, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

      Oh, bleh… you’re one of those people with 500 friends? Talk about intimidating. In my next life I hope to come back as one of you… Just the experience of friend requesting people makes me shudder. Really. Did you make a page specific to your blog, or just use your personal one?

      I hear you with the sparkly-diamondness… but I have a hard time with the lag time between me knowing how awesome I am, and the world getting on board with it.

      I did finally post a link to one of my blog posts on Facebook. It felt utterly ridiculous and self-serving. I’m hoping I get over that…

      What’s your sister’s blog/business? (I promise to think yours is better)

      Reply

      • jennifer wingert
        July 23, 2012 @ 11:04 am

        I just used my personal page; trying to come up with enough to say to start a whole other page seems very daunting. I don’t know if it’s weird or not, but there’s no stranger-danger. I’ve met every one of my FB friends at one point in my life or another. The number’s 200 and I haven’t quite worked out how I feel about that, proud? ashamed? Probably something in-between, closer to apathetic. It’s like 50 people less than the number of people who came to my wedding, so it appears that I’m actually losing friends somehow. Or gaining? It’s just all too confusing. When I first joined I was absolutely freaked out by the people that came out of the woodwork. But enough about me.

        I pretty much recognized your level of awesome instantly and if the world can’t see it I can only guess that’s a result of lack of exposure. Maybe a chain letter would be helpful? I would very happily tell the 200 that they will come to a horrible end if they don’t click your link within twenty seconds, and find true love if they do. Let me know.

        My sister (in-law, but I want to claim her) is a children’s photographer. But she started with an internet business selling children’s clothes. Her blog is kristineledridge.com and she’s a pretty amazing photographer, mother, wife, sister, and person in general. But because I don’t like second place, I don’t compete with her. Her blog is many, many times better than mine and it’s ok for you to acknowledge it. She was my main encouragement for me starting my own, so, you know, the world owes her a debt of gratitude (or at least the 13-20 incredibly fortunate people who’ve stumbled upon my blog).

        Reply

        • jennifer wingert
          July 23, 2012 @ 11:07 am

          Her blog is kristineldridge.com which means I spelled my maiden name wrong above. just FYI.

          Reply

        • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
          July 24, 2012 @ 8:38 am

          Hmm. I fear you have a heightened sense of awesomeness… And the world might not be so sensitive to the obviousness of mine.

          I thought I’d be able to come up with all kinds of witticisms and entertaining observations to post on Facebook… but it turns out that was incorrect, and the best I can do is refrain from posting updates on what my cat is doing, and how when I took a pre-paid package to the UPS store, the counter-guy would not give me a piece of tape…and how that made me incredibly angry.

          I will check out your SIL’s site and steal any of her ideas that will improve my blog. You’re lucky to be close to her. My sister in law lives five states away, and we’re lucky to see her once a year.

          Reply

          • jennifer wingert
            July 24, 2012 @ 11:28 am

            I believe we all have special skills, super powers if you will. Maybe we have just discovered my unique spidey sense.

            Reply

  15. A city girl
    July 21, 2012 @ 2:04 am

    I just want to share my story. I used to be a facebooker but no more..the thrill is gone. LOL.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 21, 2012 @ 8:31 am

      Ha! I’m just kind of getting into it! Although I don’t think I need QUITE so much information about people’s whereabouts!!

      Reply

      • A city girl
        July 21, 2012 @ 10:40 pm

        Yeah I got into it a but too much but I hardly ever go on there now. Now that I have my blog. LOL and I created a new email address and do not have my name associated with it in any way. Hardly anyone who goes on there know me…unless they found a way to stalk me. ewwwwl. That is why I do not mind posting photos of my house.

        Reply

  16. RedCandy
    July 22, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

    Ok, when I pressed ‘like’ it was because you made me laugh, but really I’m quite depressed after reading this….and a little stressed. Everyone is going to desert me in three months?! I don’t have many followers LOL! I certainly can’t afford to lose any. So, what you’re saying is I’ll basically be sending all my thoughts out into cyberspace and no one will care?

    Social media *sigh* I don’t want a facebook account for junkyardcandy just yet. I guess it all comes back to why you start blogging in the first place. I basically want to keep a record of my progress in getting the holiday house decorated. I would love to have many readers, but if I don’t that’s ok. I would love to become a strong member of the blogging community, but if I don’t that’s ok as well.

    I guess what I’m saying is, I’m diving in with really low expectations (stems from low self esteem) so anything above that will be a BONUS! I’m already pretty content with my very small following.

    Thanks! What a thought provoking post.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 23, 2012 @ 9:14 am

      I really found all these responses interesting. It seems most people feel their blog is purely for self-satisfaction. Which is great—your own creativity SHOULD be solely for yourself. But I guess for me, I could write for myself, and not go to the trouble to post it on the Internet. But if I’m going to write a blog… I might as well go the extra step of having people READ it. Perhaps I’m more of a narcissist than everyone else… and my wish for an expanded audience reflects some shortcoming on my behalf. Ha ha.

      Reply

  17. RedCandy
    July 22, 2012 @ 6:25 pm

    Just wanted to add……social anxiety! I get it!!! I’m super impressed that you were brave enough to attend! Well done. 🙂

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 23, 2012 @ 9:13 am

      Thanks. Seriously… anyone who *gets* that—the freezing terror of being faced with a bunch of perfectly nice, friendly people… what could be scarier? Lol. By now I’ve pretty much perfected the art of gritting my teeth and barreling through any situation I’m forced into… but I don’t usually go in for self-inflicted conferences!!

      Reply

  18. Storypiece
    July 31, 2012 @ 6:02 pm

    Oh my goodness… you are fantastic and should be sharing your blog with everyone in your life!!

    I felt the same anxiety about attending the blogging seminar I went to. We had dinner and everyone took photos of their food before eating it. It’s such a weird culture! I think social media can be fun and IS changing our world. But… like anything else, balance is important. I check in with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at specific times… being deliberate about why I am using the social media instead checking in because I am bored. And I NEVER check it when I’m hanging with family and friends. My philosophy is you wouldn’t want me to call another friend just to see how she is doing while you and I are at lunch, so please don’t check your social media while we are hanging out. As for using it to promote my blog, I like to think (perhaps naively) that if I’m honest, funny and write something others might want to read on my blog, I will connect with the people I hope to and the rest of it will fall into place.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment; it’s so fun to “virtually” meet you and read what you are up to.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      August 1, 2012 @ 7:48 am

      Thank you for the compliment. I’m sure you know how valuable it is to me…

      I had to laugh at the image of women taking photos of their dinner. It’s unbelievably weird. And speaks to a dearth of blog material. But then I felt badly… who am I to judge? And there is something endearing about it…people putting that much effort (if perhaps not thought,) into sharing their experiences.

      I found the social media and brand emphasis overwhelming. I came home, not defeated, exactly. But feeling like blogging was a very different thing than I’d thought. Like you said—a different culture.

      Reply

    • The Wedding Queen
      August 2, 2012 @ 11:13 am

      PHOTOS OF FOOD BEFORE EATING! oh god! tell me it hasn’t gone that far! (Although I have to admit that King Hawaiian bread I had at Bloggie Bootcamp was to die for, thank you bloggers for adding a zillion calories to my life!)

      Reply

      • Storypiece
        August 2, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

        Guilty as charged… we ALL took photos. But in my defense, the food WAS really pretty. 🙂 And I was blessed to make some new friends at the event.

        Blogging and social media can be so very weird, but the one thing I’m continually blown away by is the creativity, kindness and generosity of those that I meet because of it.

        Reply

        • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
          August 2, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

          I shouldn’t have said anything about the food photos. My seminar served ham sandwiches… so forgive me!

          You’re right about the generosity. The degree to which strangers will read and comment and share your life is pretty amazing. Plus, they have good ideas! And will pretend to care what kind of toilet you bought, which is more than I can say for my family or even my best friend. (Actually, she will pretend to care, but I know her too well to be fooled.)

          Reply

          • Nancy R. V.
            August 2, 2012 @ 7:26 pm

            Generous to a fault! Have had people help me out who barely knew me or who didn’t know me at all. But I refuse to take food photos (or at least unless I start writing a food blog (maybe disasters from my kitchen and other sad stories?) LOL Ah well… can’t tweet on the hoof, won’t take pics of conference food, alas I am never going to be at the top of the social media heap!

            Reply

          • Storypiece
            August 4, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

            Ha! And that’s exactly why she is your best friend. 🙂

            Reply

  19. Alex @ northofseven
    September 21, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

    How the hell did I miss this post?? I love talking about this stuff b/c I am convinced I am the only human being that no longer has a Facebook account. I deleted it several years ago for a whole variety of reasons and I don’t miss it at all. My husband who still has his account says that hardly anyone posts like they used to on it when it was new and everyone shared a million things. Now he says his feed activity is down at least more than half. I find that very interesting.

    I also had a twitter account several years back and by the time I had followed people and was reading news and had a screen of twitter feeds running across my computer, it was so overwhelming and I thought why am I spending more time doing this than living my real life? I am very much in agreement with Stacey in that one day we are going to look back upon this ‘technological’ social media binge and realize that a lot of spent a lot of time staring at a computer screen in our hands and we missed out on everything outside of that, including the people next to us.

    3 month readership eh? That’s interesting. I think my problem when it comes to reading blogs is that I’ll find a blog whose entries I enjoy reading. And then they disappear. Then they come back 3 months later and say “oh I’m sorry I’m a bad blogger I promise to write more”. Then another 6 months passes. By then I am like who are you? And the worst part is, a lot of them had so much potential but for whatever reason got discouraged, frustrated, probably stared at their stats and went ugh. That’s why I think people should read posts like this. Blogging is so not as black and white as people think it is when they start. The bloggers that I read the most are the ones I can do this with. Talk to. Enjoy bitching about home renos and awesome homes that I don’t own and how to stop spending money at IKEA already.

    I have such mixed feelings on my blog. It’s entirely different than I thought it would be. It’s taken me in a direction I never thought it would and I never thought I would like blogging so much as I do but at the same time I can completely acknowledge that it has filled a void for me when I stopped working. I worked in media and I love telling stories and that’s what I did for a living. Suddenly I was staying at home with the kids and had no adult creative outlet and was losing my marbles. So in many ways, it saved me (that’s so mellowdramatic in print eh?). But like you, I am not a person who is a natural salesperson. That is, the very few friends in real life that know I have a blog, are like why aren’t you marketing this? Why aren’t you getting ads and trying to make a living off of it? And truthfully I don’t have an answer.

    Half of me would think you know what, it would be awesome to have some grocery money coming in from doing this. The other half is like wouldn’t it completely ruin it for me if I felt I *had* to make content to satisfy advertisers vs writing and creating things that I want to do and share? And let’s face it, I am not exactly the prototype for the mom meets Martha blogger. That is, I can do stuff – crafts etc – but I don’t sugarcoat or lie if I bomb at it or if it’s hard to DIY or if I feel it’s completely ridiculous after the fact. And people are uncomfortable with the idea of not showcasing perfection and a perfect image. Whenever I see what are “successful” lifestyle blogs, they all look like they walked out of a magazine and here I am throwing out my 2nd new rug in under 1 and a half years b/c my children destroyed it already. And I struggle with that a lot because I know how easily I could twist my work around to make it look like that. Then I think what a waste of my sarcastic writing that would be.

    That and when I go to successful blogs, some of the ones that are the most successful aren’t the ones I enjoy reading whatsoever because half if not more of their content are ads, guest writing, more ads, more sponsorship posts. And I scroll by images and think You won what blog of the year for what? And the worst part is some of the original content is terrible to boot. That’s why I honestly don’t ‘get’ what makes a blog successful sometimes b/c how you can keep readership on sites like that is beyond me. It’s like reading a spam page.

    My favourite blogs are the ones that make me feel like I am going over to have a glass of wine with my friend. I am in their home and I love how it looks and feels. But I still know when they threw the laundry into the basement to clear out the living room and when I eat their awesome steak that I know couldn’t BBQ or marinade it like they could, they don’t insult me by saying “It’s so easy” when I know it’s a secret family recipe passed down that took them a week to make. Not like a batch of high end cupcakes that I just “whipped up last night to bring to my child’s class”. Whipped up. Right. And had time to photograph and blog about.

    Ok I wrote a novel. I’m just going to shut up now b/c this could go on.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      September 22, 2012 @ 8:39 am

      It was interesting for me to revisit this post after a few months have gone by. Rereading the comments, I’m surprised by the overwhelming disavowal of social media/profit…and kind of puzzled. It seems clear to me that people use blogging as nothing more than long-form social media. I’m not sure why it seems like there’s a rush to draw a big distinction between it and other forms of social media. And most puzzling—if you’re doing this just for yourself, why not just keep a journal… way easier. Is there something bad about saying plainly that you want people to read your blog? Is there something vulgar about talking about how to take what you’re doing and make it bigger/better?

      In the months since writing this post, I’ve gone mainstream on Facebook. Maybe since it’s still a novelty to me… I’m really liking it. It’s a mix of stupidity and wonderfulness. I haven’t done Twitter. Until just recently I was still under the misconception that it was something new. But then I found out…nooooo. Not new.

      Also, random tidbit: I waste way more time reading blogs than I do on fb.

      I guess like any writing, the best posts are the ones where the author is totally engaged. Sometimes, it seems like bloggers start feeling they HAVE to post about something… regardless of whether they’re able to put it together in a way that makes you interested. Like you can tell they’re struggling to think of something to write about. And that makes it awkward to read… when they start to run out of stuff to blog about and their posts are just strained.

      I know exactly what you mean about some of the for-profit blogs… you wonder WHO is reading them… they’re just terrible!! But then there are some that seem to split the difference pretty well. I do think blogging is a surprising amount of work and you should make some money off it if that appeals to you.

      While I don’t labor under the illusion that blogging is my road to wealth, I DO care about people reading my stuff. I’m special, damn it, and people should recognize that. LOTS of people.

      Reply

      • Alex @ northofseven
        September 22, 2012 @ 9:49 am

        I remember watching an interview with Bono once where he flat out said Musicians get into the industry to become rock stars. It’s the idea that sure you want to share your music and it’s about the ‘music’ but you want to still be the rockstar. That can be translated over to a ton of diff industries. Blogging is no exception. ITA with you on the idea that if you wanted to write and wanted to do it for yourself, you would be writing in a journal. Blogging is a vain exercise and of course you want people to read your content. What else is it for? That’s why I think so many people give up their blog at a certain point. Whether they’re dried up for ideas or when they start doing it and realize that they’re not getting back the audience that they were hoping to reach.

        The biggest revelation I had about blogging is the amount of work it takes to craft a post. I am writing back to you as I am starting weekend laundry. I have to make an anniversary present for my husband today too as he’s at work. And instead of doing it privately instantly in the back of my head I am going ok I need to take photos. Whereas pre-blog I’d take a photo of the finished product. Then I need to stay up late to get it online and edited and written. And I am doing this all for free. It takes up so SO much more time than I ever thought possible. Extremely naive of me. And I have kids that I well, need to be a mom to.

        It is in many ways a job. And you start realizing that when you’re knee deep in it and that’s the moment where you have to reevaluate how you want or if you can forward at the pace you’re going. Because – and I don’t know if you find this but this is how I find it – the more readers I got, the more nervous I got about the expectations of my post turnover and content. If it’s not up to par with previous entries. Or if I don’t blog for 2 weeks, will they be like but she wrote at least 2x a week where is she. Or if they’re like oh not again. And I swore I wouldn’t care about that. But I do. Because I feel a responsibility to the readers that are taking the time out of their corner of the world, to follow my little corner of the world.

        It’s funny that I came across this post at a time where I am considering getting my own domain name and seeing if I can take it to the next level from hobby blogging to possibly a quasi business. And I have been really struggling with this decision b/c the blog has been such a fun source of my own little bubble of happiness for me. And if I take it to a ‘business’ level, will I feel like it’s too much. Would it be selling out? Then I think are you crazy, why wouldn’t you do it? But you can alienate readers like that. Or it may be the best decision you could have made.

        Anyhow. Yes people should read your blog. So they can cry that they don’t live in your awesome home. Myself included. And of course be enthralled by your amazingness. 😉 But seriously conversations like this are why I really enjoy the blog community.

        Reply

        • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
          September 22, 2012 @ 10:31 am

          It IS disheartening when you realize that actually, the world does NOT need another blog… including your own. And that rockstardom was a fantasy.

          On the flip side, YES… you are so right. I’ve gone a few weeks between my last few posts, and I’m like, OH MY GOD I haven’t posted for two weeks. And then you don’t post, and your stats tank… then you have an awesome stat day, and you’re like, I am awesome. But then that one super-high day makes all your other days look like crap…

          For what it’s worth, I think you should go for whatever the next level is. Anyone who thinks you’re selling out is ridiculous. It’s your blog… why should they care what you do with it. And you’re investing the time in it anyway… why not try for it if you’re interested.

          I do think there’s an opportunity for monetizing your blog. You’re creative and you can write. You’re funny and snarky and you don’t try too hard—my least favorite blog trait! I do not have children, and I still found your rainbow posts entertaining. Genuinely. I wouldn’t say that if it weren’t true… I would just offer general encouragement.

          I honestly do not know how you find time to be mom, wife, blogger AND blog-reader/commenter

          Reply

          • Alex @ northofseven
            September 23, 2012 @ 8:06 am

            You need to do a re-blog of this with your updated thoughts. This is a great topic that I think a lot of bloggers could use the advice on.

            BTW – I registered a domain name. It’s not the one I have. It’s time for a change and moving should be so super easy. Where’s the whiskey?

            Reply

            • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
              September 23, 2012 @ 11:51 am

              Yes! Moving = piece of cake. No stress. Let me know how that works out for you, LOL… That’s essentially why I haven’t done it. The steps I’ve taken have each required time, effort, learning… all of which are good. But also time-consuming and stressful.

              I want to move so I can customize parts of the blog. I got to the part where I’d uploaded my files to a server, but then got overwhelmed by trying to learn incredibly specific things about how to customize it… and the one thing I most wanted to do, turns out to have another effect that I can’t change. Then I started thinking I needed to change my whole theme…

              I left it alone for a month. And then started questioning why on earth I was doing this self-inflicted stress for no reason other than basic appearance. Surely that is not the important part… surely I should be spending my time actually writing blog posts!!

              Obviously if I were a rockstar, I could just hire someone to make my page look pretty…

  20. The Wedding Queen
    September 22, 2012 @ 8:56 pm

    I was thinking over the three month turnover comment. Wow! You mean that happens to people who write other blogs? I mean I understand why I get a turnover every 3-6-9-12 months, I mean I write wedding blogs, people eventually GET married or don’t. Or they finish planning. But somehow my stats stay up, so do I really care if stay? You know what? I find I do. I know it’s unrealistic. If I were reading blogs about weddings and I got married, I’d stop reading them. At least if I weren’t reading the competition now that I write wedding blogs. But I find I love it when I can tell the same person is reading my blog over a really long period of time.

    I have some people who read my defeating the squirrels blog that have been there from the beginning. They’ve become friends. (or at least cyber friends). I wouldn’t want to lose them. Their readership has become personal. I want them to keep reading, keep sending me emails about what makes them laugh in my blog. Or even cry.

    I am thoroughly enjoying reading your blog…I may not hit it everyday, but I have to admit, you are addictive always a good thing in a blogger!

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      September 23, 2012 @ 11:52 am

      After my wedding, I had wedding-stuff-withdrawl. I had spent SO much time on the planning and details, that to have that part of my brain back again was disorienting. And kind of sad. And I didn’t know what to do with my free time!

      I got married eight years ago, and while I absolutely used the internet a crazy amount, there was no such thing as pinterest. And I don’t remember reading any blogs. I remember TheKnot… and other sites like that, not people’s personal blogs.

      I imagine that you, more than anyone have a lot of turnover. But also a constant new audience planning their big day!! I agree that I’ve made some really lovely connections online, and been amazed at how generous people are…

      Reply

      • The Wedding Queen
        September 23, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

        I think more than anything else I love about blogging it’s the people I’ve met (even if it’s just online). Every single one has been generous to a fault. (hmm… that almost makes being generous sound bad, but you know what I mean.)

        Actually I think some of my initial comments came because I was on the knot and had some pics of a venue that was hard to find pics of online. I got tired of all the individual emails asking for photos so I put those online. I put them all together (because by then I had finally figured out Blogger was not just a filing cabinet and people could actually see what I posted there!)

        Pinterest has become a great resource for brides planning weddings, especially if they are DIYers. Or photos of what you are planning for your wedding. I love Pinterest. Unfortunately it is highly addictive! I have a timer that I set when I start going on Pinterest, to keep me honest about how much time I spend there! No self control at all w/P.

        Reply

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