"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Blogging lesson

I learned something from reading Milan Kundera's "Ignorance" and RBR's blog (the two intellectual touchstones of the early 21st century). It's about why some blogs are more popular than others and what people really want to read in them.

First, there's the whole question of why women follow women's blogs almost exclusively and men tend not to follow anybody's. I write a guy's blog; guys read it looking for something that might help them in their own endeavors. About once a month, I go to Geoff Roes' blog and end up going to the link to his training log to "see how he does it." I've never learned anything by doing that, but I still hope I'm going to learn something. That's sort of the way guys think.

On the other hand, women tend to look for experiential blogs, the "this is what it felt like" posts. I think of Bobby Knight being asked a question like "You came two points short of the championship. How does that feel?" and his answering something like "You're an idiot." We can all guess how it feels, but we want to hear it nonetheless. If you want people to come back to your blog, the best way to do it is to write about experiences that others have had and can relate to; you could write a version of "I had a bad day and, though I felt guilty about taking time for myself to go for a run, I did it anyway. As the miles added up, I felt better and I was able to return, refreshed and more ready to tackle the problems I'd left behind." every single day and people would eat it up, because they know it already, it's their story you're telling as well as your own.

I'm always taken to task for not documenting everything with photos. There's a number of reasons I don't post many photos, but part of it has been that people's imagination is always better than the real thing. Readers want to see it anyway. They want to better recreate the "yes, that's what it's like" feeling. Readers like it when you run places they've been, so they can compare notes and relive their own experience and they like it when they can live vicariously through you, win or lose. They want to know the people that are important to you, they want to share the excitement of new adventures, they want to know you struggle as they do.

Or you could just give away some crap to people who sign up as followers. That works, too.


Emz said...

I think blogging about crap & dumps works best. Heck, look at shutup&run . . .okay, so she's hot, runs fast & gives away awesome prizes --- but the lady talks about sh*tting. It's no wonder she has 800 followers. ;)

Note to self: blog about sh*t. real sh*t.

SteveQ said...

Yeah, Emz, I get a lot of traffic from her link to my blog. "Steve in a Speedo" has 582 followers and even I read it, though I have no interest in triathlons - a little humor goes a long way to popularity.

Anonymous said...

I think you're putting way too much into why people read blogs. Lol. Usually, I think most do it to kill time at work!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

So what you're saying is I blog like a chick?

Ouch. That hits me right where I live - viz., my mangina. (Formerly my n*ts@ck.)

But you're right. I go on and on about my n*t@ck, but I never tell people how it feels.

That changes today - right HERE, right NOW!

It feels wrinkly.

[With outstretched "Gimme" hand]: 500 new subscribers to my blog, please!1!

Re: Dr. Nic. Yeah. He's back up. But only people who use the blogspot address will get to him because he evidently did let the left-right-repeat.com domain name lapse.

Way to go, Dr. Nic! That was $12.95 well-unspent!

ShutUpandRun said...

Yep writing about turds has served me well. Who knew?

Ewa said...

I thought I have read most of Milan Kundera's books but not this one. It is already on order from my library.

As for blogs... I think we are just sharing our experiences. Unlike you, I post tons of photos because, unlike you, and many others I don't have words to describe what I see. Then why do I bother writing at all? Good question.

Oh, I am a female and a lot of blogs I follow have male writers. Or so they claim to be. :) :)

Julie said...

Interesting thoughts on why people read blogs. I ran across yours today when looking at trail running in MN. So, does that mean I've 'experienced your blog?'

Beth said...

I've never been one for soap operas, but blogs are kind of the soap opera of running. You get to know the characters and root for them as they have their ups and console them when they have their downs. People are so honest when they write that it's almost easier to get to know them through their blog than if you met them in person. That's what I like about it.

Marathonman101108 said...

I am now a follower of your blog. Like me, you tell it like it is. PERFECT comment at the end about giveaways. Unfortunately there are too many blogs written by insecure runners and "wanna-be" runners who give away lots of crap as long as you're a follower. I won't name names, but I know of one that has 650+ followers, mostly due to her giving away crap, and creating all these make believe awards for her insecure and easily bought followers. Best is when she asks her followers to send her free stuff. Thanks for telling it like it is. P.S. My blog has more followers that are female. Perhaps that's because I follow more women's blogs. Why? Because a lot of them keep it real, are sincere, and don't try to be macho assholes like a lot of us males do!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

In case you were wondering - and why wouldn't you be? I'm surprised you could sleep with the cloud of doubt that hitherto remained - Dr. Nic has confirmed that: 1. he let his domain lapse; 2. he is a hardcore teatard.

I'd say "The latter goes a long way toward explaining the former" but I'm not that small-minded.

Or are I?

Jean said...

I am waiting for Steve's Evil Kitchen to do a homemade fudge giveaway before I officially become a follower... :)

RBR said...

Ooh! I like the way Jean thinks!

Personally, I will vote for a Snickerdoodle giveaway.

Great literary minds always drop the F bomb every third syllable and comma splice as frequently as possible.

That is how I got in the club.

If you come to run in Cali, it would take a restraining order (ok, ANOTHER restraining order) to keep me off your crew and I can be a very good bully ;)

RBR said...

@G: A mangina that was formerly your n*ts@ck? That is some really advanced level duct taping, my friend.