Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Blogging Questions and Bike Helmets

So being the novice blogger on the block, I thought I'd pick your expert blogger brains on a few things:

1) How did you decide whether to go anonymous or not or somewhere in between? I just can't decide if there are people I know that I want reading this, or if that would just lead to more headaches and attempts at censoring my writing.

1.5) If you are writing anonymously, does anyone know about your blog? How do bloggers like dooce and Linda protect themselves and their children? Or are there just less ax-murderers-looking-for-bloggers than I realize?

2) Do you keep track of how many people visit your site? I've tried Google Analytics, but I don't know what half of the data means. (I sure wish I had paid attention in that college Statistics course I took. But the girl next to me had some seriously foul breath, and I was hung over a lot back then, so it took all I had, statistically, to not barf.)

3) How do you decide what to blog about? Do you keep a list or just have some potential blog post swirling around in your head or just sit down and write?

4) What are some characteristics of "good" blogs? What makes a blog interesting?

An finally, an unrelated question: Do you know of any "infant" sized bike helmets? David just bought a baby bike seat on ebay. Now I know I'm probably supposed to wait until the baby is a year old to use the thing, but we're feeling rebellious and a little bored (have I mentioned this town is small), so we need a helmet for Marin. I'm pretty sure that using the bike seat before the recommended age won't send child protection to my door (though, they are probably bored too), but smashing up her cute little skull in a bike accident, when the rest of the family is properly clad in helmets, might make my neighbors talk.


Mommy Brain said...

This topic comes up alot in blogland. Here's a few thoughts from a non-expert:

1. I've been blogging for 5 years but made the switch to an anonymous blog at the beginning of this year. Part of it was that my SIL's IP address showed up as visiting my blog. I look at my blog as my journal. It's a place where I might blow off steam about anything from politics to *ahem* my inlaws. The other part is that I've been forced to fire people over the content of their non-anonymous blogs. It's becoming common for managers to check out places like myspace, facebook, and blogs to find out more about the people they are interviewing. I don't want someone to google me and end up reading about my kids pooping in the tub. Finally, my husband is a teacher and I would hate for someone he works with or, worse, teaches to stumble upon me ranting about how filthy our house is.

1.5. People know about my blog because I can't keep my mouth shut so I comment on complete stranger's blogs and they check mine out. (Ha-hah) I've thought about going completely anonymous by password protecting but I like the dialogue and feedback I get from people who stumble by.

Actually, I did end up sharing my blog with a few people who I met through a local flylady email group. So I guess I have 3 or 4 people who I've met in real life who read my blog.

I'm hesitant to put photos of my kids out there but you figure that people like dooce/Linda are less visible than say Suri Cruise or Shiloh Jolie-Pitt. If anything, at least people who blog are releasing the information they want out there on their own terms.

2. I use statcounter but usually forget to log in and see who's been visiting.

3. I find blogging to be somewhat theraputic. So I mostly post about whatever is going on in my world. Whether it's something interesting I read, the latest thing my MIL has done to drive me nuts, or something cute/crazy that my kids are up to. I have a lot of posts that never make it past the draft stage because I run out of time or can't figure out what I'm saying.

4. I think different blogs are interesting to different people. I like blogs that give me lots to think about (Swistle), make me laugh (lookydaddy), are about life with multiples (twinsanity), or are by people I know. My blog is probably read mostly by other moms. I can't really see what some high schooler or 30-something bachelor would find interesting about my struggles with housework. I don't worry about making it interesting - it's hard enough just to find time to write!

Well, sorry for the looooong answer. I think 5minutesformom.com is doing a series on blogging that you might want to check out.

PS - LOL on the statistics course!

Marie Green said...

Wow, thanks so much. Very helpful! It's funny, I never set out to read blogs of other twin mommies, but I just keep stumbling across them. I guess we're drawn to what we know...
I'm going over the check out the 5minutesformom.com right now!

Jennifer Playgroupie said...

1. I'm anonymous as a request of my husband. My real name is Jennifer, but my kids and husband's names are psuedonyms. It's silly, really because I've developed friendships with many of my readers, whom I correspond with via email and I use real names... Also, I occasionally post pics, so that isn't anonymous at all.

I don't know how Dooce and Linda keep their families safe.

2. I use Sitemeter. It's terribly addicting at first, but it's lost it's luster.

3. I blog about whatever I feel like. Well, that's not entirely true, but I do blog about boobs, penises, my kids, TV shows...I try to never ever say something on my blog that I wouldn't say to someone's face.

I have a list of post ideas, but most of what I write about is usually something that just pops into my brain. I usually sit down with the computer ASAP to get my idea out.

4. A good blog in my opinion is one that I can relate to or is so well written that I'd feel as if I were missing out had I not read that day. Lots of blogs do the wordless wednesday, thursday thirteen....too much and it gets old reading this stuff over and over and over.

And I can't help you on the bike helmet issue...

I think this is my longest comment. Ever.

Black Sheeped said...

I'm not an expert blogger, but I've been blogging for around seven years. I used to be completely anonymous, which I liked. Then I had a blog where everyone I knew could follow everything I was up to, and that was SOOOOO stressful. Now I'm somewhere in between, and although sometimes I censor a few things, I still have the freedom to complain when I want to.

I also used to keep track of numbers, but again, no more. This newer blog I have hardly any readers anyway.

I used to blog every weekday morning. Now I blog when something sits in my brain long enough for me to want to write it down.

Good blogs for me are interesting, humorous, and/or unique. I'm not a mom, but I'll read 'mommy blogs' if they're interesting and creative. I could say the same thing for blogs about science and accounting. Etc. As long as the writing keeps my attention, and the ads/begs for promotions/money aren't too out of control, I'll think it's good. Writing style is important to me, too.