Anyone looking over this website for the first time will justifiably come to the conclusion that I have lost interest in blogging. That’s really not true at all. I merely got discouraged.
Part of the “sell” in setting up profiles on social media is to help you “engage” and get your stuff noticed. For me, it had an opposite effect.
I started blogging in 2007 with the launch of Fantasy Debut. It was the third blog I started. The first few had no readers whatsoever, except spammers. But when I launched Fantasy Debut with the release of Lisa Shearin‘s first book, Magic Lost, Trouble Found, little did I know that she would notice immediately. I posted an as-I-read-it review of the opening chapters. She left my very first comment. By the end of that book, I had already attracted several avid readers, some of whom had blogs of their own. Naturally, I checked out their blogs and learned of even more books–and blogs.
The community grew organically from there. Or rather, I joined the already-growing community. A lot of us made our start that year.
For a while–I admit–I got a little carried away. I posted a lot, and when I wasn’t posting, I was reading other reviews, and when I wasn’t doing either of that, I was checking out my blog stats. It was downright narcissistic, and when I realized that, I deleted my link to Google Analytics and focused on content.
I was never a superstar. But my blog had a respectable following, and I could tell how “engaged” people was by the number of comments they left. I moved my site to tianevitt.com and renamed it Debuts and Reviews. Thanks to Feedburner, I was able to take most of my readership with me, and the others seemed to follow.
When Twitter became popular, I signed up. I did the same for Facebook. For a while, all went well. Someone once described Twitter to me as a river of posts that I could stick my toe in at any time to see what was going by. Facebook was the same way. Yes, I didn’t see everything, but I did see a wide selection of content from people that I followed, and I read a wide variety of posts. Thanks to retweets and reposts, I do think I saw everything worth seeing. Both sites drove traffic to my site, but, when I did go back to Google Analytics, I noticed that my blog was really no bigger than before.
I retired Debuts and Reviews after The Sevenfold Spell was published, and my readership consequently–as anticipated–declined. I am not blaming Facebook or Twitter for that. I knew it would happen.
But then, along came the new Algorithms.
Behind the scenes, first Facebook and then Twitter started arranging the timelines differently. Two things happened simultaneously–I began seeing the same people over and over in my feed, and fewer people reacted to mine. The bottom fell out of my “engagement”.
Apparently, the Algorithm had decided that I was a bore. Which may be true.
However, I never spent a lot of time engaging on those sites because I was busy engaging on blogs. When I read a post on Twitter or Facebook, I would click through to the website and leave my comment there. Apparently, I ought to have either tweeted a reply, or left a Facebook comment. And maybe I ought to have paid to “boost” my posts. The fact that I never changed my behavior made me an undesirable.
Over on Twitter, I noticed that my feed was littered with retweets from the same few people. I was unwilling to unfriend them, but Twitter apparently rated their feeds very high, maybe due to their status as prolific retweeters.
During the same timespan, Google Reader discontinued itself, and I never found a satisfactory replacement.
Over time, my readership dwindled to a few that I can call long-term friends. They still read all my posts and they come by to comment, which makes me happy.
However, it is very discouraging to post stuff that few people seem to ever see. So I actually did so less and less often.
That’s not the end to this story. I’ve decided to try again. How?
I’m Going Old School!
Google Reader ain’t coming back, so I looked around for an alternative, from which I will be starting from scratch. Therefore, I signed up for and installed Inoreader on my iPad. I added Fantasy Cafe first, sine I knew Kristen was still blogging. I also knew that she still maintained a blogroll (which kindly still lists this blog). From there, I found two other live blogs that I remembered that are still active–Angieville and SciFiChick. Another site I looked at, http://mariazanninihome.com/, doesn’t have an RSS feed. So I subscribed via WordPress.
As for this site, my old Feedburner RSS feed still works, and is still attached to this website. I also have subscribers to this blog via WordPress, and I will look into what else is out there now, since RSS is the Way of the Past–not the Future.
There is some hope for Twitter. I figured out how to restore the original feed by unclicking an option in Settings for Show the Best Tweets First. Kudos to Twitter for providing that option. Boos to Twitter for turning it on without telling me in the first place.
Assuming my tweets are not rated “Best”, here’s how to see a greater variety of tweets (including mine!) in your feed:
- Click the little round icon for your account in the upper right heading bar.
- Click Account
- Scroll down to Content
- Unclick “Show the best Tweets first”
You will NOT regret it. It’s like getting the old Twitter back.
Facebook makes it MUCH harder. You can select people to prioritize so they appear at the top of your feed, but there’s no blanket “Just show everything ordered by time” option.
So I’m still researching it. It may be a lost cause.
I’m reluctant to announce things, because I tend to forget about my newfound commitment and not follow through. But, I’m going to go ahead an announce this. The next step in bringing back my blogging mojo will be to start blogrolling again. what’s blogrolling, you may ask? When I find interesting stuff, I’ll favorite it in Inoreader, and then post about it here, on an as-I-think-of-it basis.
Let’s see how this works out.