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If your blogging experience is anything like mine has been, you might also be saying to yourself, ‘How do I really get to meet other bloggers of like-mind who have similar interests? I have found it to be pretty hard searching for blog topics using keywords at Google. The answer to this challenge may come down to an age-old process practiced for millennia: networking. ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,’ is what my parents always said when it came to business or finding employment. Now I’m learning that it’s the same in the Blogosphere.

I have come across many well-written blogs in my travels. However, quite a large percentage of them remain relatively hidden under the radar, unknown to most of humanity. When blogging, it’s such a great feeling to know that people are reading your thoughts and ideas. It’s even better when they leave comments hoping to start a dialogue. After participating in these ‘relationships’ it can be quite disheartening to have to go through ‘quiet’ periods with little (if any) interaction. So, how do we find people who write about similar topics? From my recent experiences I’d have to say that this desired networking is being done at blogging communities or blogrings, of which I’ve written about previously: ‘Xanga Blogrings: An attempt to find others like you.

Though I wrote about these communities a while back, I thought I’d still try and make it on my own. I’ve spent a lot of timing searching for bloggers to relate with, not to mention commenting at other blogs to try and start ‘blog friendships’. It’s been hard. Just like real life, you can’t make someone want to know you. There has to be a point of connection; a reason why you feel like sharing each other’s space. You have to feel like you’re on the same ‘wavelength’. Recently I had a chat with a friend who said that he’d recently joined a blogging community of sorts called Zaadz. I checked out his new site and then did some research on how these communities work. It’s pretty cool and I really think that this has to be one of the main ways in which bloggers are ‘meeting’ each other on the Internet.

At Zaadz, you have to create a profile of yourself. There are several categories including Interests, Heroes, Teachers, Books, Music, and Movies in which you fill out. Your answers automatically become hyper-links. Let’s say that I put one of my interests as being ‘meditation’. After the word ‘meditation’ has become a hyperlink, when I click on it, it will take me to a page of ‘Zaadsters’ photographs who all listed ‘meditation’ as an interest. There you go: It’s an automatic connection. You already know that you have at least one common interest with a whole group of people. Cool. There’s also an awesome photo facility on Zaadz. Check it out, and check out the Zaadz philosophy on their Home page as well as the ‘thinkarete.themanifesto’ written by the site’s CEO, both of which contain inspiring ideas that make this community look worthy.

Recently I was sent an email from someone asking me to join the blogging community at Blogmemes. A while back I joined a website called Mybloglog, but I’d completely forgotten about it. It seems (I assume) that this blogger found my profile there (which has a cool little picture of MiContent on it) when searching for keywords relating to their interests. All I had to do was click on the link in my email and I was part of the community. Unbeknownst to me, Mybloglog has thousands of blogging communities within its one site.

Today I went to my Mybloglog profile after doing a little searching around yesterday of bloggers that I was told had visited my blog, one of which had called themselves an ‘admirer’. Interesting. Today it seems that one of the bloggers I visited called BlogBloke has added me to his community at Techbloke. I don’t think I joined of my own volition. This could be a problem…shouldn’t I be the one to choose who I want to relate to? There’s also a means to ask others to be friends or contacts. If someone whose writing you like also likes your writing/content, they’ll agree to make a connection. I like this reciprocal approach.

This all seems pretty great but I have noticed that some people are part of hundreds of communities, let alone being friends with thousands of individual bloggers. This causes some suspicion on my behalf. What are the intentions of these ‘ultra-networkers’? It’s hard enough having a handful of friends in reality. I seriously doubt that anyone has time to consistently read thousands of blogs. Could this be a case of blog gold-digging or social-climbing? I’d like to communicate with a lot of people about subjects that interest me, but I don’t think I can relate to that many people. Then again, I can talk to just about any type of person when I ride the train.

Jesse S. Somer is going to go deeper into the Blogosphere by joining in blogging communities. Human beings are social creatures. Why did I ever think that my writing alone would create relationships?

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Do we really need to hear the voices of every single human being? If everyone gets a blog, is that such a good thing? These are a couple questions that have come up in discussion in recent times on this blog, and I feel it’s about time we get to the bottom of it. If everybody’s spending their time writing a blog, will there be anyone left to read them? Why do you want to write or read blogs anyway? If you’re writing for readers or comments/interaction, will your writing become obsolete and lost in a sea of human voices crying out to be heard? What kind of voices are we going to hear?

Going deeper, how many people do you meet that you don’t really relate to, or even get along with? The answer is ‘a lot’! Why do you think most people only have a small group of human beings they call their closest friends, all others automatically thrown into categories like housemates, colleagues, team mates, acquaintances, and associates? We don’t like all people. Well, it’s not that we don’t like all people – but we don’t understand or comprehend many of the behaviours that others exhibit. As soon as someone else shows a certain trait that grates against our belief system, we decide that we’d rather not spend as much time being around them. So, what about blogging? Does this mean the Internet is going to become an endless quagmire of people we don’t relate to getting clicked on and visited when we do Google searches on any specific topic?

Everyone’s a writer now. Great! Smell my sarcasm. How many books are already at the bookstore? Do we really need more writers spilling their guts into the pot of human communication? When you go to a bookstore how often do you walk around looking at authors you’ve never heard of, or writers who write about subjects you’ve no interest in at all? All the time, and sometimes you walk out of that shop with nothing. You’ve found nothing worth reading…in a bookstore! So what happens when we get every brain on the planet trying to tell us a story? Chaos! Can you imagine looking for blogs about motorcycles for instance? How many freaking blogs are you going to have to go through to get the type of blog you like to read? By the time you get there, you’ve got no energy left to read…that is of course if you ever get there.

You wanted to know about old German motorcycle engine cylinders, all you found were pictures of scantily-clad women on Harley Davidson choppers with photos of mean-looking tattoo beast-men staring at you through your monitor, daring you to come near their bike or woman. It all sounds like a pain in the buttocks to me. I thought blogging would give a voice to the minorities and individuals of the world. It sounds like if they ever did finally get a blog, no one would be able to find it for the forest of ‘Average Joe’ blogs pervading the Blogosphere. I don’t want to have to read about people’s everyday lives…you might?

In the days before writing, most wisdom was passed down orally by elders who had lived long lives, and because they were sensible they held high positions in the tribe. Younger people didn’t bother speaking much, especially at important ceremonies – they wouldn’t know what to say anyway! Those were stories worth hearing. How many stories expressed by people we don’t really relate with and who don’t really have much knowledge about anything are we going to have to wade through to get through to the worthy information? Sounds like a world with too many bloggers, too many writers, too many voices and not enough readers or time to relate with anyone.

Just as a dog isn’t allowed to crap in the park, humans shouldn’t be allowed to talk bullshit in the Blogosphere.

Jesse S. Somer isn’t jive talkin’. He’s tellin’ it the way it is.

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Well, we’ve come to that time again; it now seems like another good time for a questionnaire. A while back I was getting a few comments from visitors to MiContent, but recently things on that front have dried up a bit. Getting comments is one of my most enjoyable aspects of blogging, as it gives me an idea of what other people’s viewpoints are on topics of my interest. I know what I think, but we’ve got to know that others see things differently and that their opinions are just as relevant as our own. I also like the social feeling that I get when commenting back and forth with others…As I work as a Creative Writer I spend much of my time alone, so it’s always good to have human contact of any kind.

So here’s the topic. ‘How do YOU get people to come and visit YOUR blog?’ Ok, I’m going to send this around to some popular bloggers, bloggers I’ve already had some interaction with, as well as some other arbitrary blogs relating to my interests. I’ll list some questions down here, but like the first survey I did (‘So you’re a blogger, why do you do it?’) please feel free to express yourself further if this topic strikes a chord in your heart/spirit/brain. Also feel free to express your opinions on how you’ve felt when people haven’t visited or commented at your blog.

How I Get People to Come and Visit MY Blog:

By, A. Blogger

  1. Since you created a blog have you done anything with the direct motivation of bringing visitors there? If so, what did you do?
  2. Do you ask other blogs you like to partake in link-exchange so that both of your identities grow?
  3. When you add a blog to your blogroll do you inform the blog’s creator?
  4. Do your friends and family visit your blog, leaving comments?
  5. Do you regularly visit other people’s blogs (especially ones related to your topic), leaving comments in hope that they will visit your blog and relate back to you?
  6. Have you added keywords to your blog’s name so that Search Engines could find you easier?
  7. Has advertising on your blog had any impact on page views?
  8. Have you joined any social networking sites in hope that it will bring you closer to people of like mind to communicate with? If so, has it worked?
  9. What other tactics/means have you used to try and increase traffic to your site?
  10. How does it make you feel when people show a genuine interest in what you’ve got to say on your blog?
  11. If people don’t visit your blog much, how does it make you feel?
  12. Who have you gone to seek help from (if anyone) for information on how to increase traffic?

I look forward to hearing your responses and learning from your perspectives.

It sometimes feels like all of my communication is travelling out one way, with no one responding back to me. Do you have any advice on how to make stronger connections?

Jesse S. Somer loves relating to others in the Blogosphere. It gets lonely sometimes when no one comes to visit or has anything to say.

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You may have caught this astounding story of Internet romance/superstardom/comedy at Wired Magazine’s blog recently in a post called, ‘Love Train: It was a fairy-tale romance, a very nerdy fairy-tale romance.’ Please, you must have a read of this. What blows me away (besides the multi-million dollar repercussions of writing one post at a community blogging/forum site) is how Train Man’s discussions online about what to do in terms of asking the ‘pretty girl’ out became a social/community venture for so many people online.

In listening to his fellow bloggers/forum participants’ advice (‘Get enough sleep, cut your nose hair, have breath mints, charge your cell phone, brush your teeth, take enough money, take a shower, and – in case of an emergency – wash your penis properly.’(Yeah, don’t forget that one buddy…) we can see a new form of human relationship taking place.

‘Remember: She’s only one girl. You have all 2Channel (The Japanese website) on your side!’ People are now putting faith in the opinions of fellow bloggers/humans that they’ve never met. So much so it seems, that we are now asking others-once deemed as ‘strangers’, for advice in the most personal arenas of life. Plus of course, people are generously offering their help and advice. (We aim to please, us humans.)

Amongst all the ensuing commercial chaos around this ‘Geek Love Story’, we are told that a book of the blogging forum’s threads has already sold over 1 million copies. I know Japanese people are a little bit different (not to be judgmental in any way), but could this be a trend for the future of all literature? Popular blogs transformed into books, posts becoming paper pages…Isn’t it strange how technology can flip back in on itself?

Would you read a book of made up of your favorite blog’s archive of posts? Or, can you imagine reading a beloved author’s next novel-online one post at a time? The online serial novel is born! Hmmm…It makes you think.

Could this be ‘Train Man’s future? Or is marriage too big a step for this comic-reading, anime-watching ‘Otaku’?

Jesse S. Somer didn’t meet his girlfriend on a train…it was at a Juice Bar. She made the most incredible Berry Blast Soy Smoothie you could ever imagine.

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So you think you’ll write a blog eh? Currently Technorati tracks around 57 million of these online journals, and they can’t even find them all. However, after trawling the depths of the Blogging Ocean, a question has slowly arisen to the surface of my mind like a blue whale coming up for air after a lengthy connoisseur’s session of krill degustation. How long will you survive? On my travels it’s not unusual to find ancient blogs sitting, hulking bulks of metal skeleton rusting away in the salty seas of eternity. Why do people quit writing so easily? Or am I wrong? Was their battle to stay with their blog reminiscent of Hemingway’s ‘The Old Man and the Sea’, except in this instance, neither guts or stamina were enough to pull that giant fish in, ropes burning into the skin of your back, thoughts craving for the written page on screen.

This post was inspired by a comment recently received at another MiContent post, ‘Why comment on someone else’s blog?‘ Many of us find it hard, or even question the validity of, writing comments on another’s blog. Writing anything can be hard for so many reasons. Add in the fact that in the Blogosphere anyone and everyone can read what you’re saying, and couple that with the fact that no matter how passionate you are about a topic, once you’ve attained a readership, there’s true pressure to produce more content. I’ve seen blogs that have stuck it out on the high seas for 6 years or more, full steam ahead, with no hint of hesitation or loss of focus, and I’m sure for some (possibly a rare few) it’s not an issue. Blogging has become life, a source of inspiration, an outlet for creativity, and a medium for everyday interaction. These accomplished writers/bloggers would cry out in agony if anyone tried to take their source of lifeblood away.

What about the rest of us, the so-called average ‘normal’ citizens of the Earth (Sadly, I cannot put myself in this category, as for many reasons I’m just too insanely weird!)? Why does blogging take courage and staying power? The answer is simple, or at least it seems simple after my personal experience in the area. For years I wrote 2 article posts a week in a blog at M6.Net. This wasn’t much of an issue. These days I write at least several posts a week, and I have to tell you that the really popular bloggers are the same. There’s also a special class who (maybe though obsession, but possibly as a result of hardcore passion and dedication) must blog everyday. Some of these ‘Bionic Bloggers’ may be paid to do it (a genuine driver of impetus), but others do it because they have to.

No matter how passionate you are about your topic of dedication, you will find days where you need a breather. Writing for months and even years about fly fishing, or the human genome can take the natural flow out of the most avid practitioner, and what if no one is commenting or relating to you on the subject? I’m sure you’ve heard the saying. ‘I love you to death.’ That’s what many bloggers unwittingly do with their blogs, slowly and subtly becoming the killers themselves. So what’s the answer to this newfound dilemma for the Internet web journal writer of the 21st century? It’s guts and stamina, my friends, guts and stamina. Oh yeah, a hint of balance with the rest of your life won’t go astray either. One reason all those blogs died may have been somewhat related to the sudden realisation that all the other important passions and loves in life had been neglected too long. A myopic quest for a giant fish can leave behind a tired, lost, and worn-out soul.

Jesse S. Somer is on a quest for a different kind of fish…one that can fit in a kettle.

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Recently I sent out a survey to some popular bloggers. One that commented back to me was a woman from a small Latin-American country called Guyana. Have you heard of it? She calls herself Guyana-Gyal and her bio says she’s a writer and an artisan. So, what makes this a good blog?  It is quite good. It’s not the format, nothing fancy there, just a very basic template you get for free at Blogger. There’s no cool photos or videos on the front page…Well, what do you think it is that sets this blog apart from the hundreds or possibly thousands that I’ve visited on my research trails? It’s simple: The writing.

‘I gon tell you stories, true, true stories. Like me gran’pa and me nanee and cha cha used to do, and they ancestors too. Take half, leave half, cry or laff. Enjoy the gyaff, what you learn is up to you.’

This is the bit of tagline that she shares with the world and you can see that it’s flavoured with all kinds of Caribbean spices (It’s actually located in the North-Atlantic Ocean in between Venezuela and Suriname). Read some of her posts. They seem to be a mixture of daily reflection and an ongoing story-type of narrative (these are the parts that really ‘grab’ you). The style of writing gives insight into the type of English dialect that has evolved in a country mainly inhabited by people of African slave ancestry, as well as Hindu East Indian agricultural workers brought over by the British colonials long ago.

This is a country that has seen the ravages of AIDS, drug trafficking, political instability, as well as people smuggling. It’s not the best of places for a young woman to grow up, but the literacy rate is high and Guyana Gyal tells us how it is. Her stories are not all sad and they draw a strong mental picture of what daily life might be like if we were to have grown up there. November 28th’s post entitled ‘Spare the Rod’ based on corporal punishment in schools is a post inspired by a present-day Newspaper article that causes the author to slip back into a reminiscence about her own ‘bashings’ in school. It ends with some real wit…she’s definitely not a defeatist.

A post called ‘Sweat like a cow’ tells a funny little tale about a woman who tries to kill her husband by putting too much Epsom salts in his bath!

Beware, oh men, beware. Be careful. If your scratchety, naggy, vexy wife or gyal-friend offer to do something for you, take that offer with a pinch o’ salt…cooking salt, that is. Absolutely no other kind.’

Jesse S. Somer be sayin’ that dis blog be worth a penny or two more dan de price of a dang pawpaw.

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If you’re reading this blog I expect that you’re a blog reader. That is of course taking into account that your car hasn’t crashed off of the Information Highway resulting in your sudden ‘turning up’ at this web address/homepage/address/home…and what a place to end up it is! Blogspoke: A writer/blogger who writes about writers/bloggers. So, here’s the big question: Have you ever commented on someone else’s blog? Why did you do it? (That’s two big questions…I snuck the other one in hoping you weren’t paying attention. That’s another big question: Are you really PAYING ATTENTION to what you’re reading right now? Are you only ‘half-reading’? Come on, put some effort in! It’s often hard for us humans to give full attention to anything that we’re doing isn’t it?

What makes you feel that sudden urge to make a comment on someone’s blog? Is it because you feel strongly about a topic? Is it because you really relate to what the blogger has written, and you feel the ‘need’ to let them know that you appreciate their thoughts? Is it because you want to take part in a conversation that is based around a topic that you feel passionate about, rather than the same old ‘small talk’ discussions around the water-cooler at work, or the pub afterwards? Could it be that you’re thinking of starting your own blog and you simply want to see what it feels like to have your own ‘voice’ up there on the computer screen, out there in the public domain?

It seems like I’ve gone from one big question to a multitude of more detailed specific ones. Oh well, I’ve seen some blogs that get hundreds of comments on each post; why does everybody suddenly feel the need to communicate with total strangers? Maybe we’re not strangers anymore? Maybe we never were? Maybe we’ve all been starving, even dying, to have our valuable individual opinions heard by someone, our peers, our society?

Have you got a few favourite bloggers that you read regularly? Have you ever commented on their sites? If you haven’t, how will they know you exist, and that you appreciate their efforts? How will they know that their blog is ‘needed’ by others? Not that it matters to all bloggers, but for me it’s good to know others are taking an interest. Are there other ways to let a blogger know that they are appreciated? I know some blogs ask for monetary contributions, that’s one way. What else? Come on and comment. Tell us why you comment.

Jesse S. Somer likes to comment on other people’s blogs to let them know that just about anyone in the world could be reading your words. It’s also fun to occasionally provoke someone by sharing a strongly felt opinion…but in a nice way of course, no need for insults in the Blogosphere. Is there?

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