Hump Day Hmmm 2-6-08

Today’s Hump Day Hmmm is about social media. How we use it, what we hope to get from it, and basically what it means to us. You use this stuff; you’re here, aren’t you? What do you think? Check out more on this topic with Julie at Using My Words.

I don’t Twitter, have a Myspace or Facebook page, or belong to any ofthe social networking sites (yet). So I can just talk about this blog and the website that I will have up as soon as I get my act together. I have different reasons for starting each and as such I have different expectations from them. I started this blog back in the end of October (come back tomorrow for my 100th post!). At first, it was just a journal. I needed a place where I could just brain dump and figure a few things out. Then I discovered NaBloPoMo and got really involved in the culture. Ok, maybe not really involved as I don’t need a twelve-step program yet, but I do enjoy it. The virtual interaction is actually something I need. I enjoy just being myself, not someone’s mom or wife or whatever. The blog is a pretty selfish place for me. And it’s really the only placeI can be selfish without harming anyone else. It’s low cost, and, as long as I don’t let the time involved get excessive, doesn’t take a lot of time. I can write posts while I’m waiting at soccer or tutors or any of those things that moms have to do (which is what I’m doing now). I can read other blogs while I’m sitting next to the kids supervising homework or while I eat lunch.

One thing that is starting to come home to me is that this can be a rather clique-y place. I’ve never felt shunned or anything, at least not yet. But, and maybe this is just me, there are definitely “circles” of blogs. I notice the same blogs on people’s blogrolls, the same people participating in the same memes, the same commenters on people’s blogs and the same awards going to the same people. Is it just that I don’t get around enough? Frankly, I don’t have that kind of time! I guess it would bother me more if it were really important that I drive traffic to my site. Not that it isn’t important, I’d love more readers that’s for sure, but I’m enjoying the relationships I’m forming more than the stat count. If I start worrying about the number of readers I have, I’ll start changing what I’m writing about. This blog is still evolving. I don’t know what it will ultimately turn into. But while It’s maturing, I don’t want to worry that I’ll lose readers because of something I wrote. This blog is about me and what I want to talk about. If you don’t like it, read somewhere else. Maybe check back in a few months to see where it’s going.

Now the other soon-to-be site is different. I have the URL and hosting ready to go, I just need to get it off the ground. That will be kidzbookshelf.com and it will be a community where there are reviews, discussions of, and opportunities to purchase, you guessed it, children’s books. This is actually a spin off from some blog posts that I have done. I’ve accumulated a pretty good knowledge of kid lit, being a mom and all, and a lot of people both in the real and virtual world have asked me for advice on this topic. So I thought I would make a go of it. I need to have a good deal of content before I start marketing the site, so I’m shooting for March 1 as the launch date. Maybe this discussion will be what I need to get my act together!

For kidzbookshelf, traffic IS important. I will be paying close attention to what makes people want to come that first time, and then what makes them want to come back. I will actively seek ways to direct traffic to kidzbookshelf. I’ll even try to get mentioned in parenting magazines and web communities. Kidzbookshelf isn’t about me at all, except for the fact that I’d like to make some money off of it. It’s about you and what you want and need. Notice that I called it a community. I want it to be a place to learn and interact with other people that have the same interests. I would like it to be a place where teachers and family members go for inspiration and purchases. Did I mention that part already? 🙂

What are the rules of this media? Are there any? You can be pretty anonymous and get away with a lot. I am only somewhat anonymous, so I do follow some rules. I don’t say anything about anyone I wouldn’t say to their face. I keep my comments civil; if I disagree, but cannot contribute constructively to the conversation, I don’t comment. I give credit where credit is due and link to original sites when appropriate. I try to reciprocate comments when and as soon as possible. For the most part, people I’ve run across seem to follow these unwritten rules as well.
When I see sites that don’t follow the same rules I do, I tend not to go back to them. These rulebreaking sites, or at least in my mind, don’t fulfill my needs when it comes to using social media.

So. Same person. Two sites. Two different uses of social media. But one need. A need to get out there and make a positive connection with others. That’s what makes it all so powerful. You can get out there and connect on your own terms. There will always be something out there for you, no matter what (Have you checked out your google analytics? Eeeek!). I never realized how important social networking would be to me until I joined in. I used to think it was all just a bunch of hooey, but now I don’t think I’ll be able to live without it. This internet explosion has all happened in about fifteen years. Can you imagine what the next five will bring? Neither can I, but it will be big fun to find out. And I’ll be doing it with my new bloggy friends.

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9 responses to “Hump Day Hmmm 2-6-08

  1. Excellent post! Good luck with your new site, one suggestion, put up an RSS link to new books or perhaps have a blog-like extension with an RSS feed. It is really hard for a web consumer like me to visit static sites to see “what’s new”. There are so few static sites I visit (Amazon and my banks). And even Amazon gives me new book recommendations tailored to my interests, etc.

    Are you going at it alone? It might be worthwhile getting some help from SEO or other “experts”.

    Hmm just a blogger note, on Julie and my comment page there is a new URL field but not on yours (which doesn’t launch a separate page).

  2. Great post about your entry and experience, plus thoughts on the matter.

    I think it will be interesting to hear about your journey into this as a businessperson. That’s one of my biggest questions.

  3. P.S. I added you in!

  4. To your question of cliques:

    I think we end up in a circle of people because we find each other through one another’s blogs. I found a lot of people through Julie, for example. (Like, apparently, you.) I think you are right that it depends what you want to get out of the experience.

    Emily

  5. Melissa,

    I’m with Emily. I guess there are some cliques because we start finding more people through other people’s blogs. I found you through Julie’s blog, but I love your blog! I like the Friday Haikus and I like the way you write it just for you. That’s the way I feel about my blog. It’s informational, but it’s more of my journal. Great post.

  6. Hey Melissa–
    This is a great post. I think your point about blog cliques is a really good one. When I first started, I was always afraid to comment because each community of bloggers seems a bit like a closed circle at first, I agree. What I’m realizing over time, though, is that these circles overlap…the communities overlap too. I spend a lot of time exploring the blogrolls of people I like and that’s how I bump into new people who may be part of several different types of blogging communities. I’m finding that the more I try to give back, the more I receive, and everyone is really pretty hospitable in the end. This is such a great post, and such a relevant point to make too.

  7. I loved this post Melissa. I’ve noticed that there are blogging circles, for sure, I seem to fly into one, and then another, having fun but not finding enough hours in the day to visit and comment everywhere I’d like. I met a lot of folks through the NaBloPoMovement; some really great blog pals. I can’t even remember how I stumbled upon your great blog… but it doesn’t matter. I’m really enjoying getting to know you through your writing. And I love that you comment over in my spot as much as you do.

    And your new site, what a great idea! I’m starting to really want to know the best books for my kids; I don’t want it to be so much homework, as enjoyment. I was a great reader as a kid (now, not so much). I’d love to instill a love of the written word in them.

    Looking forward to it, and good luck!

  8. I recommend ASiteLikeMine.com for learning about running a quality online business. A friend of mine who makes a good living doing it built the site to quit answering so many of his friends. There’s no charge for it. He’s a good guy.

    As for the “cliques”, I’ve definitely observed them in the sense of communities of blogs. It’s both great and troublesome at times. It’s great that people get a community of support for their ideas, but it’s also troublesome when it turns into the entire life for some. I don’t think that’s true of you, but it definitely happens.

    I tend to comment on any blog that I feel strongly about or I am interested in. I started blogging in that way well before I started my blog. I am enjoying the blogging world and the part it plays in my life right now.

  9. “You can get out there and connect on your own terms.” So very true. As for the clique issue, I’m not sure there is so much cliques at work as there is simply the fact that people have a limited number of blogs they can read an comment on or follow in any depth, at least the personal blogs. There are only so many people’s stories one can become invested in.

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