Blogging - do you want an audience? do you have an audience?

Thus far I’ve resisted the temptation to put a blog on my website itself because I have a blog on dreamwidth.org where I post and I know I’ll have at least a small handful of comments, and I like that, though I still go through periods where I don’t post for months at a time. I haven’t been able to find a way to crosspost my DW posts to my blog unless I do it manually, which is fine but a bit boring.

I’ve been thinking about having a blog on my site and crossposting it to dreamwidth so that my friends there can see it, but then I wonder what the point of having it on my site is in the first place. I mean, I like y’all and it might be fun to have more engagement, but… I don’t know.

If I did it, I’d definitely want to host it on my site, just for purposes of owning my own data- because otherwise I’ve got my dreamwidth site, so what would be the point? So that rules out something like microblog anyway. I’ve been using flatpress just to make notes for myself, and maybe I could play with expanding that.

Basically I guess my question is: If you have a blog on your site, how to you integrate it with other parts of the site and make sure people see the stuff you like the best? Or do you not worry about that, and only make blog posts that are worth the attention? Is owning your data important to you when it comes to your blog? Do you choose where and how you blog to increase your impact? Do you want an audience?

5 Likes

Thats an interesting question! To be honest I don’t really want an audience for my blog posts. I mostly make them when I have something bouncing around in my head and I need to get it out. More for my own peace of mind than anything. Thus my blog is not one of my front and center links on my homepage ^^;

2 Likes

It’s a very interesting question. Do I write 100% just for myself? No. It’s a tad fun to think a bit about / have an audience. But I’d still recommend doing it at ~70% for oneself, at the very least. That, even if absolutely no-one is reading, one should still be willing to write.

Clearly the point of the World Wide Web is for others to come across it, yes. BUT, that’s not the same thing as clamoring for attention. It’s not the same thing as seeking the validation (positive or negative) of others. Trying to amass “power, wealth, influence”. Someone wants those things? They’re on the wrong side of the web then, in my opinion.

This side of the web, to me, feels more natural, more authentic. I’m not entirely sure how to put it, it’s more… normal, more mundane. And yes, mundane sounds boring, because it is. But so is everyday life, what’s more real than that? The trending hashtag of the hour? Reality doesn’t revolve around any one person / thing / etc.

Not really sure what I’m trying to say. Maybe… “Don’t be too attached to external influences for this hobby? Certainly don’t let them suppress your individuality, or things you feel are worth sharing.” I also think it’s common to get caught up in one’s head. To think and ponder and philosophize, when action would have sufficed. The saying “Walk the way, and the way appears” comes to mind.

2 Likes

I like it when people have blogs on their sites - it’s one of the sections I enjoy visiting because it gives me a little bit of insight into who the person is.

And that’s how I use my blog. Reading it will give you a window into who I am and what I’m into. My blogging is for me and I don’t worry about it being worthy or impactful. I used Zonelets to create it but it’s part of my site, not an outside service. People can find a link to my blog on my index page. I have provided the path - they can take it if they want to. Do I want an audience? It would be nice! But I don’t need one.

What do you want? You already blog - why are you looking to move it to your site? It seems like DW fits your needs for now - you know you have an audience and they can interact with your posts. Is the impetus for having your blog on your own site solely because of the desire to control your data?

2 Likes

Interesting question! I have a blog on my site, and while its audience is presumably small, I think it is important to me to have one. Like, I also have a personal wiki on my site, and that’s where I stash the stuff where I really don’t care if anyone but me sees it or not. And I also have an offline journal where I write just for me. If none of my blog posts ever got any engagement, I don’t think I could be bothered to keep posting them, honestly. I do crosspost short entries to, and link to longer entries from, Mastodon, and I also added my blog’s RSS feed to Micro.blog, so it’s pretty easy for friends who use one of those things to interact. That said, I definitely can’t be bothered trying to “market” my blog to “increase my audience” or whatever… it’s a personal site, and really I’d just like my “audience” to find it organically and follow along because they vibe with what I post.

It sounds like you’re pretty happy with Dreamwidth, honestly, and your main reason for wanting blog posts on your own site is for data ownership reasons… which makes perfect sense to me. Sometimes I go through phases of having low motivation to update my own site, and I just post to Mastodon and end up copying posts back to my own site (in a batch) later on when I do find the motivation. But these would be short-form posts, obviously, not real serious “blog posts”, which would always go on my own site. I guess the “data ownership” aspect is important to me, even if my motivation waxes and wanes.

As for how I make sure readers see the stuff I like the most… well, at the moment I don’t! :sweat_smile: I’d like to find a good way of surfacing those good older posts, like maybe a dedicated section on the front page for it, or a “Random (selected) Post” section in a sidebar? (Of course, I’d have to change my layout to have a sidebar.) Something like that.

1 Like

Do I want an audience? Yes. Do I have an audience? I don’t have analytics on my website, but judging by my guestbook, the interactions I’ve had with people, yes, but not a big one.

Regarding keeping knowledge to myself… knowledge is a resource that is not a zero-sum game resource. By this I mean, my gaining knowledge, doesn’t remove knowledge from you, and by sharing it, I can receive knowledge from others- and that knowledge can then lead to understanding. The Universe has an infinite amount of different perspectives from which we can understand things, and all we need to do is to be open to receiving it to have a more complete understanding.

There is also the inverse, if you are a hostile person. You can write to take away value from people’s lives. Being pessimistic, I think most news media and social media falls into this category as it’s psychologically predatory and loaded with dark patterns. This is also not a zero-sum game, but it’s “your small loss is my big gain”, but this is a game of a thousand paper cuts.

Going back to the point about wanting an audience… the previous paragraph reflects how most people make that a reality, so in wanting an audience, you have to walk a tightrope of that Faustian deal if you’re going to take actions to get that audience.

RSS is designed for this, as it allows you to aggregate multiple RSS feeds. Consider just pointing to the RSS feed. So people can add it to their aggregator.

You could try to pick out what you think is best for people. This choice reflects an opinion of the author of what provides the most value to people, and what provides the least value to people… But this is fairly opinionated and without a lot of works a bit useless. This is where I think good titling and listing of your blog posts is important so they can see what you’ve written. I’d say curating is necessary if you’ve written a lot. You see that with many of the “Writings of X” or “Essays of X” books that exist for dead authors.

1 Like

I know it’s gonna sound pretentious, but I consider my website an art project, and as a result, myself an artist. I don’t know if I want an audience (it’s not like I’ve ever had one), but I’ll keep creating anyway.

I don’t really bother with crossposting anything, primarily because my blog is just a tiny part of my website, and I can’t crosspost everything because third party platforms are way too limiting.

2 Likes

If I didn’t get caught up in my head I wouldn’t exist, lol. I’m an absolutely chronic overthinker.

For me, I think I need the motivation of thinking someone might read what I have to say or I don’t bother to “say it” - for example, my spouse and I write collaboratively for fun. Occasionally I’ll tweak something we write together and post the fic, but most of the time I don’t bother because it’s just for us, and sufficiently niche that I don’t think other people would be interested in it. If no one is reading, is there really any difference between posting something to my site and leaving it in my notebook?

I don’t know what I want, hence this post! Partly I do think it’s because my blog doesn’t feel integrated into my site at all. And I mean, it’s not integrated into my site. I link to it in several places, but for example when I wrote something for the IndieWeb Carnival this month, I put it on a page on my site rather than on my Dreamwidth, because posting it on my Dreamwidth feels… weird. Different. I spent ten years having a wordpress blog that was separate from my Livejournal and then my Dreamwidth, and eventually I killed it because I wasn’t really updating ANYTHING, let alone two things, but they always felt distinct.

Maybe it’s because Livejournal and then Dreamwidth were always very separate-feeling from “real blogs”? Aside from a handful of authors, most of the writers I know have a blog on their actual website that’s separate from their “journal” on DW or LJ. When polytheist and pagan blogging was more common, it was the same- someone would have a wordpress blog or something where they put their serious thoughts, and a DW or LJ account for posting in communities, snarking behind a privacy lock, and so on.

(It’s really nice to hear someone else say it, for what it’s worth.)

In my case, the “action I would take” would be like. Installing blog software and interacting more with other people who blog, like, linking to posts and responding to them.

I do this, though I’ve yet to find any indication that anyone’s done so. The time or two someone’s linked to an RSS feed for me, they’ve used the updates feed for the main page.

Which I think probably sums up why I’m thinking about this. Currently I have four different things listed on my /feeds page- my DW blog, my updates feed, the flatpress installation I have at /notes where I stick links and to-do items, and my Tumblr feed. I’d like that to feel less disjointed, and more like I could just have A Thing where All My Stuff Is. I’ve thought about setting up webmentions, or having my updates auto-post, but the more different things I have, the more overwhelming it feels to sort that kind of thing out. (And it’s all stupid fiddly little things that don’t SEEM like they should be that complicated, like I can’t use IFTTT to automate my updates crossposting because it doesn’t recognize the journal.miso.town atom feed, but when I set it up with pipedream I can’t reformat it and I’d have to use a setup where I get an email and that email triggers a different email to post to DW.

So the appeal of having a single, actual blog that generates a proper RSS feed is that I wouldn’t have to mess around with all of that and I could theoretically find something that just WORKS.

And geez, at this point I probably could have just written a blog post, but… having people interact with me about it made it a better thought process, which brings me back to why I want to believe people might read my posts if I post them.

Also right now my Dreamwidth has like. Fifteen years of posts on it. And they can only be archived one month at a time, if I want to archive them. Wordpress used to be able to import a Livejournal but it’s been a literal decade since I tried hacking with the plugin to get it to interact with Dreamwidth and I have no idea if they’ve changed enough things that it would be broken now or not. I’ve got all of those blog posts from my old wordpress blog, which I ran through 11ty so they’re at least formatted for my site now so all I have to do is find the ones I want to keep, but it’s frustrating not to have a good way to get my data out of DW if I wanted to. I trust the owners of the site, I don’t think it’s going anywhere any time soon, but I also feel some kind of way about continuing to put stuff into a system I can’t get stuff back out of without copying and pasting by the post.

But thank you for everybody who replied so far, it’s really helped me crystalize my thoughts about it.

I pretty much just do my “blog” manually. In quotations because I rarely do posts on my site and when I do, I just make a new HTML page and then link to it when it’s done. I try to make every post I make it’s own unique thing.
Though now that I think about it, I could totally set up an RSS feed to list them.

I honestly don’t care too much what kind of audience I get for my posts, because I don’t have any analytics or comment sections anyway. I just post them as a way for me to scream into the void, and if people come across my site and read the posts, like I do when I web surf, great! If not, it is what it is.

3 Likes