Because I am new to the blogworld and because I am obsessive like that, every few days I go on a massive bloghunt and decide I need to do something new with my blog. But, you're thinking, I haven't seen anything new here, except for a few links maybe, in, umm, ever. So what gives? Well, often what I want to do exceeds either my level of skill (like a site redesign, for instance) or my level of commitment (like any one of the following tips). You see, to be a "good" (read "popular") blogger, you really have to do a lot of work I'm not willing to do right now. Lots of people will agree that taking any of the hints below will help get you noticed, but let me tell you why I am destined to languish in obscurity for, well, ever!
Tip #1: Comment, comment, comment. Omigosh, who has the time? I mean, well, clearly people do, because some of the popular sites get hundreds of comments, even thousands. I recently saw that for one of her giveaways, Dooce got over 46,000 responses!!?!! But I barely have time to read the (admittedly) few blogs to which I link and follow a few of their links and even doing that takes up too much time and causes me all sorts of guilt. And these bloghunts I do take up even more time, so I can't get all chatty and comment all over the place. I have to give my baby a bottle some time, people! Oh, and maybe interact with him once in awhile, too.
Tip #2: Use social networking sites. I've posted before about my ambivalence regarding Facebook and my now defunct Myspace and Friendster accounts. I mean, I do have an active Facebook page under my real name in which I link to this blog, which sort of flies in the face of my relative anonymity here, but I want to maintain the vestiges of that anonymity for two reasons. One, I am still employed at a college about which I write and I think it's wise for my students not to be able to google me and find this blog, at least for the time being. Of course, they could look me up on Facebook and find the URL there, but most of my students think I am older than and about as hip as dirt, so I'm pretty sure they would never even dream that I might be on Facebook (gasp!). Two, the husband continues to be employed at a hospital about which he writes and I link to him so I want to maintain his anonymity as well. We both work in industries which monitor information exchanges pretty heavily (FERPA and HIPAA, anyone?), so one always feels a bit of trepidation in writing about one's life in one's job under those circumstances. You wonder how much of your own life is actually yours to discuss. I am continually amazed by what is illegal when you actually read the fine print. Leaving student papers, graded or not, outside your door? Illegal. Emailing a student his or her grade? Illegal. Talking to a parent about a student about anything, ever? Illegal. Emailing the class and leaving the email addresses visible, even though all the students have access to their classmates' addresses via the school network? Illegal. Things like these cause a fair amount of paranoia, you see. Sooo, more intensive social networking? I think not.
Tip #3: Host giveaways. Because who doesn't like free stuff? But I'm just not that into them. I don't have anything people want; I'm not connected enough to be friends with someone who has something people want; and all the rules involved in giveaways kind of scare me, to be completely honest (but I could get over that, I suppose, leaving me still with many objections).
Tip #4. Post frequently. I thought I was doing okay in this regard, but apparently in the blog world "frequently" means more than once a day. See my thoughts on Tip #1: who has that kind of time? I'm a fast typer, and I have a lot to say in general, but even I have to think A LITTLE before I post. SHEESH!
Tip #5: Write well. Well, now, this is just as subjective as it can be, and I'm not even going to attempt to discern whether I write well or not because even though I teach writing for a living, it's not "creative" writing, and I have no frame of reference here because my goal is not Literature with a capital L.
Tip #6: Pick a niche and stay there. This was my goal originally, to write about pop culture and media, but I have strayed so very far from there by now, I have trouble even spelling the word "niche." And, in fact, it was difficult to stay with just one topic, and I got stymied many times during those early days of my blog because I wanted to go off topic and felt compelled to stay there. Apparently, "mommy" blogs are the exception to this rule, but you still have to have a consistent voice.
So many rules!! What the heck EVER!