Jun 18, 2009

Why do I blog? - A Survey

Writerz Blox lolcat
(Not really; I've just been busy. But why miss a chance to post a lolcat?)

Ms Mazolla at State of Denmark is conducting a blogging survey, and so she suggested that participants answer a few questions about their blogging habits, motivations, etc. on their own blogs. Unfortunately, it took me so long to get around to answering them that my data will probably be useless by now. But I found reading other people’s answers interesting, so hopefully you will as well:

1. How long have you been blogging?
Since March 2007, so for a little over two years.

2. Why did you start blogging?
When I began, I wasn’t really aware that I was starting a book blog that I’d update regular for the following two years at least (and I don't intend to stop anytime soon). I started my blog so I could join the first Once Upon a Time Challenge and read fantasy books along with others. Then I discovered the community, and I stayed for that.

3. What have you found to be the benefits of blogging?
Above all, the friends I’ve made. I also like the fact that it encourages me to write (and thus think more carefully) about what I read, and that it allows me stay on top of bookish news. Plus it’s a great way of discovering new authors and books. Yes, I admit it: I enjoy the fact that you’re all such terrible influences on me.

4. How many times a week do you post an entry?
I’d say about five on average.

5. How many different blogs do you read on a regular basis?
I subscribe to 226 blogs (I know, I know). I don’t read them all every day, but I try (and often fail) to stop by a couple of times a week at least.

6. Do you comment on other people’s blogs?
Yes, I do. It’s impossible to comment on every post when you follow over two hundred blogs, but I do my best to join the conversation or just to let people know I’m there reading. I do comment on some blogs more than on others, though. I'm shy, so leaving that first comment is difficult. And there are some bloggers that still intimidate me a bit, but this is in no way their fault.

7. Do you keep track of how many visitors you have?
Comments mean more to me than the number of daily visitors. It’s not that I don’t appreciate quiet readers (and as I said above, I’m a lurker myself on several blogs), but I love the interaction. I check my stats on Google Analytics when I remember to, but I don't really know how to interpret the numbers, so it's mostly out of curiosity. I also tried Sitemeter a while ago, but it made me feel like Big Brother and I decided not to use it.

Anyway, I like looking at search terms (sadly the ones I get are never quite as weird, funny, interesting or puzzling as some other bloggers’), and I really like the geographical map of visitors (Samoa! French Guiana! I’m a dork). But as far as numbers go, I really don't know what to make of them. More than half my visitors come from Google, probably searching for something very specific, so I think visitors don’t necessarily correspond to readers. To be completely honest, I sometimes go through phases in which I have to try to ignore the fact that anyone could be reading my blog as much as my brain will allow it, or else my social anxiety begins to lift its ugly little head. Trish wrote a discussion post on the subject of stats recently, so I recommend that you read it if you haven't yet.

8. Do you ever regret a post that you wrote?
Not really, no.

9. Do you think your audience has a true sense of who you are based on your blog?
I think so, yes. I don’t often write posts of a strictly personal nature, but if you’ve been reading me for a while you probably know a lot about me. Maybe not the specific details of my life, but you most likely know what kind of person I am and how I feel about most things. I think that the way we react to books says a lot about who we are, so there’s no helping that.

10. Do you blog under your real name?
No, but there’s no reason why not, other than the fact that I’ve been online since I was fourteen and therefore I’m used to internet screen names. You’d probably laugh at me if I told you some of the ones I’ve used over the years. But I think most of you know that my real name is Ana. It’s not like I’m hiding it or anything.

11. Are there topics that you would never blog about?
Hm. Yes and no. Like I said, I don’t usually write very personal posts (not that I have anything against them), but there aren’t any topics that I deliberately avoid. If something comes up in a book, be it sex, drugs, rock and roll, religion, politics, you name it, I’ll discuss it. And sooner or later, everything comes up in books.

12. What is the theme/topic of your blog?
Books! I bet you didn’t know that. Here’s an updated wordle, just for fun:

Wordle things mean a lot

Nothing much has changed since last time, it seems. It also seems that I say “really” and “also” a lot.

13. Do you have more than one blog? If so, why?
No, I don’t. I had a personal blog on livejournal for something like 4 years, but after I started this one I abandoned it. Not enough time to keep up with both, I guess. And I wasn’t writing anything terribly interesting there to begin with.

This is the second to last week of the semester, so I'm behind on pretty much everything, including reading, replying to e-mails, writing posts, responding to comments, and visiting other blogs. Hopefully I'll have time to a least respond to comments in the next few days, but if not, my apologies!

And another thing:

Some of you might have noticed that for the past four days now, Blogger has been having redirection problems. This means that my old url, http://thingsmeanalot.blogspot.com, no longer
automatically directs you to http://www.thingsmeanalot.com/ but shows you a message asking if you want to be redirected first.

One of the consequences of this is that my feed is also not redirecting.This means that those of you who have been subscribed to my blog since before I changed my url are not getting my updates. In which case you're probably not reading this post, I know, but I thought I'd let you know what's happening in case you find it and wonder why it didn't show in your reader. Blogger is expected to fix this problem at some point (though they seem to be taking their time), but for future reference, here's a way of preventing problems of this kind:

If you subscribe to:

...could you please delete it and subscribe again, this time to:
Pretty please? Also, even after the old one is fixed, the new feed will update more quickly. Sorry for the inconvenience, and thank you!


  1. Very interesting to read and no, you should never miss a chance to post a lolcat!

  2. :-) I've found that sometimes surveys and memes are the best thing for bloggers' writers block. and they're easy and fun, and fun to read :-)

  3. Good luck in your last two weeks of the semester! I know just how tough they are and how tough keeping up with everything else is alongside them.


  4. I reading your responses. Like you, I enjoy interaction. Comments make me very happy. I am glad to read someone else is used to using screen names. I've been online a decade. When I connected with the Net everyone used monikers.

  5. Oh, between the two blogs I publish, I have more than 200 in my blogrolls. I comment daily to most blogs I read. I may read several posts on a blog, but I usually will comment to just one post. Thankfully, they are all on varying publishing schedules.

  6. I enjoyed reading your answers! I liked learning about how your blog got started.

  7. I really enjoyed reading your answers. I feel the same way about community, and interacting with others who share my interests. I think that's what keeps me blogging (and on Twitter). And you're right - even when we don't blog about personal things, what we read and how we react to what we read helps others get to know us. I love being able to talk books with others who love books, too.

    I never get any of the weird, silly or cool search terms others find, either!

  8. Yay! I've been looking forward to this post. :) I think we definitely have a good sense of who you are, and we all love you for it--your posts and comments are always genuine and thoughtful.

    Honestly, I don't know how you manage to keep 226 blogs in your reader and comment as much as you do. It hurts my head just thinking about it! I always look forward to my Nymeth comments because you always try to identify with some part of the post and really let the person know you were listening--I appreciate this more than you could know.

    Good luck with your end of the semester! I feel like I've been in a perpetual state of catch-up for the past two months--there needs to be more time in each day!!

  9. ...and we love your blog and are so glad you write! Fun survey. i'm going to do it to (writerz blox). So glad you stop by mine.

    PS: owl prints came! yours is going out next week!

  10. I've been thinking so much about you, wondering how you've been making out this week. With so much still hanging over your head, it probably doesn't help for me to say, "Hang in there, it's almost over!" but well, I just said it anyway, didn't I? I hope all goes smoothly and painlessly...and I hope you get a nice long break to just relax once the semester's over!

    I really enjoyed reading your survey answers! I think you're absolutely right...it would be nearly impossible not to let oneself show at least a bit when you're discussing books. Especially for someone who reads the vast variety of books, books that often touch on so many areas of the human experience, like you do. And for that I'm grateful, because I love every little glimpse I get into the wonderful person behind "Things Mean A Lot"!!!

    And I'm sure you know it's not nice to tease...now I'm dying to know what some of your former aliases are. :)

    Oh man, over 200 blogs...that makes my head spin! I stress myself out so much because I can't seem to stay caught up with the ones on my reader, and that's well under 100.

    Good luck next week, my dear friend!

  11. in all fairness... learning about the person who's blog you are reading helps you know where they are coming from when they review a book on likes and dislikes etc. This was an interesting post nymeth.

    I too have been having troubles getting to your blog, but as you can see I don't give up easily! and I don't subscribe to any feeds I just keep the blogs I read in my favorites on the browser, it keeps telling me I must not be connected to the internet..cha!.. well how the heck am i reading all the other blogs then??? I couldn't even get to you from my own blog link or a few others I tried, finally the link at Cath's blog (read warbler)worked!

  12. Claire: You shouldn't indeed :D

    Marie: They're also good for when you're too tired to write a review :P

    Lena: Thank you! Almost done now.

    Susan: Yeah, back in the day it was very uncommon for anyone to use their real name. Makes me feel a bit old :P And yes, although I love comments and commenting on other blogs, it's just impossible to comment on every post. I used to try to, but I'd just feel overwhelmed.

    Charley, I'm glad to hear it!

    Belle: That's what keeps me going too. I enjoy the writing in itself, but without all the friends I've made it wouldn't be nearly as satisfying. And I think that the fact that books are so personal but in a way that feels safe is a big part of their magic :)

    Trish: Awww, you're the sweetest :D Well, 226 is my total number of subscriptions, and that includes a few music blogs where I never comment, author blogs, and a couple of news feeds. That still leaves about 200 book blogs, but for the sake of my sanity they're divided into folders :P I only read and comment on (almost) every post on folder #1. I feel bad to play favourites, but there's no other way to manage things. And no one can help having favourites anyway. Also, I could say the very same about your comments, and I also really, really appreciate it, Trish.

    Daphne: Aww :D I can't wait to get my lovely owl!

    Eva: You should do it too! I'd love to see your answers!

    Debi: So far I've survived! It's sort of almost over...only one week to go officially. After that I have no more classes or finals, but I still have two final essays to hand in before the 6th of July (one is almost done, the other... not really), and lots of job-related things to catch up on. So it will probably be the end of July before I truly have a chance to rest. Like I was telling Trish, I do use some "tricks" to manage all those subscriptions, but it does feel overwhelming sometimes. I miss you, Debi! I'm going to find the time to write you properly this weekend.

    Deslily: I agree! And that's what I love about blogs. Sorry to hear you've been having trouble :( It should work alright from now on if you bookmark the url http://www.thingsmeanalot.com/ instead of the old blogspot one. I'm really upset at blogger because one of the things they tell people when they convince them to pay money for a custom domain name is that the old one will redirect permanently. And yet here we are. This is happening with everyone's blogs, not just me, so I expect they'll fix it soon. But it's been 3 days now :/

  13. Oh I'm so glad I found this post, even though the redirection thing wasn't working! I was worried about you, since I didn't see any new posts on your blog! Hope everything is ok and good luck in this busy time!

  14. I love reading these types of posts. They do add a bit more of the personal. Like you, I rarely post about personal topics, but I like reading about them!

  15. I loved reading this post! Not that I didn't already "know" who you were, but it's great to know even more!

    I've been having trouble all week trying to get here. Now I know why!!

  16. Yes, I admit it: I enjoy the fact that you’re all such terrible influences on me.

    I find this kind of amusing coming from one of the people who is highly responsible for my own burgeoning wishlist. :D

  17. I don't know if your answers were too late, but I know I am very glad you posted this! I love to know about the bloggers behind the blog!
    I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who subscribed to a huge number of blogs! But I love visiting everyone from time to time and read about all those great books.
    Your Wordle looks nice! Mine too has the word "Book" the most (obvisouly, hehe!)

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  19. Awww ... poor LOL kitty! Hope the writer's block passes soon. You've got a lot on your plate right now and you amaze me at how well you still keep up with blogging.

    I enjoyed your answers to the survey questions. I read your comment on Trish's blog about your Sitemeter experience! I use StatCounter and even that doesn't get checked too often. I'm like you -- here for the book "chat" and community.

    I love your posts. I think they are a nice combo of informative and personal :o)

  20. This was a really interesting meme, Nymeth (Ana ;-) ). I think we blog for the same reason. I find I remember the books I've read over the past few years much better than the ones I read before I started blogging. And the book blog community is so great, too!

  21. I love your real name. It's so pretty.

    That was really fun reading. I'm afraid I'm one of those people who are actually a little intimidated by your posts. They're so amazing that I often just read them in my reader and sit here, speechless. Sorry, I suppose I should click through and comment, more often!

    Love the LOL cat.

  22. LOLcats rock!! Thanks for sharing that one. I'm subscribe to LOLcat on RSS.

    I love your answers to the questions. 226 blogs?! Wow, you've been busy... :D

    I'm very happy that you leave comments on my blog and whenever I see you and all the regulars, I'm really thankful. So, thanks very much for being my friend, Ana!

  23. I seem to be getting to you without a problem, I think I updated your link before so perhaps that's why. Anyway, loved reading your answers to this meme. I know exactly what you mean about sitemeters. I dislike them intensely and have even found it puts me off going to the blogs of people who use them. Fun post.

  24. Your comment about all the screen names you used made me chuckle. I've had scores of them over the years too, some more my favorites than others. :-)

    I agree with you about how your reactions to books say a lot about who we are. I don't think I realized how much of myself in my writing until I started blogging.

    I don't seem to get any strange and funny search terms leading to my blog either. I keep looking out for them though!

    I am so glad you started blogging, Nymeth! I love your reviews. You are so insightful and you never fail to get me thinking.

  25. aaaaa that's what happened! I was going to say "bad Google reader! it didn't tell me you had another post!" but mystery solved.
    I love that LOLcat, I always squeak anytime I see one ahah!

    I don't even know how to use goggle analytic, I'd love to see people' search terms, but I'm useless with it.
    Hope you catch up with everything college related soon, and good luck with it!

  26. I just realized I never commented on this post. Everything's been all crazy over here. I'll have to check if I need to change the feed on yours. I'll make sure i get it right, because I love your posts! I think i've gotten more recommendations from you than any other blogger, except maybe Trish. You're wonderful. I hope the end of your semester goes well.

  27. Interesting answers. I do like learning why people blog. And I "borrowed" your wordle idea and made one for my blog. :)

  28. I'm always looking forward to your posts, Nymeth!

    You know, I'm always in awe of you not only you read and recommend the best books, but also that you always take the time and effort in visiting and commenting on other readers' blogs! Did I tell you that you're one of my favourite blogger friends? ;)

  29. I LOVE looking at all the countries my visitors come from. It's my favorite part of Analytics. (I have fairly regular visitors from Iran and Pakistan. Weird.)


  30. I enjoyed reading your answers Nymeth. I remember doing a similar meme around 2 years ago, it would be great to do it again and see how things have changed.

  31. I never get the really interesting search terms either! I don't really have the patience to sift through them too often though, there are several hundred. It's fun to look at a couple though. =)

    I'm glad I'm subscribed to the right feed! I would be very sad if I was missing out on your posts.

    I hope the end of the semester goes well for you!

  32. Hi Ana :D

    I love your answers, they are you as I perceive you.

    About the URL, I do receive yours, I also changed mine so here goes:


    Have a nice day Ana

  33. I tried using Google Analytics and got totally confused. I couldn't get it to do anything - needs to be looked at again.
    I keep thinking I should have two blogs - one for books and one for scrapping, but that would just take up so much time. I really need to think about it.

  34. Joanna: Aw, thank you! Don't worry, everything is fine. It's just being busy mixed with blogger acting dumb :P

    Beth: I really like reading other people's personal posts. I'm just too shy to write my own very often :P

    Stephanie: Sorry about that! It took blogger almost a week to fix the problem :/

    Fyrefly: lol! I guess we're all bad influences on one another :P

    infiniteshelf: hehehe, no surprise there :P I'm glad you enjoyed reading my answers. I too really love getting to know the person behind the blog.

    Terri B: Blogging actually keeps me sane when things are crazy, and plus it's a great way to procrastinate, which always comes in handy :P Those little widgets that show visitors in "real time" always freak me out :P Not sure why, but they do.

    Aarti: Yes, there's that to! The fact that I actually stop to think and write the books before moving on to the next one makes me not only appreciate them more, but remember them better.

    Bookfool: Thank you so so much! That means a lot coming from you. I love your blog too, especially because of your warmth and sense of humour, and I need to be less shy about commenting myself.

    Alice: lol, I subscribe too. Gotta have a LOLcat a day at the very least :P And thank you, Alice :) I'm very grateful as well.

    Cath: Yes, the updating link was working fine. It was only the redirection that was broken. And yeah, those little widgets make me feel so naked. It's like my computer screen has done transparent and other people can see me from the other side :P

    Literary Feline: Some of mine were downright silly, but I'll just try to blame it on being 14 when I started coming online regularly :P Thank you for your kind words, Wendy :) I think I told you this before, but you were one of the first bloggers to make me feel welcomed, and I appreciate that so much.

    Valentina: Sorry about that! Blogger's fault. And thank you so much! I'm done with 4 of my classes, only 2 more to go.

    Amanda: Thank you so much! It's been crazy over here too, but OI hope to catch up some this morning.

    Melissa, loved your wordle :)

    Melody: Awww :D And you're one of mine!

    Lezlie: That's so cool! I love how the little map makes me feel connected to the whole world in a way. Like I said, I'm a dork :P

    Violet: That would be fun, yes! Maybe I'll do this one again in two years :P

    Meghan: Yeah, I bet the weirdest ones show at the very end, and I just don't have the patience either. Thank you for the good wishes, and good luck with your dissertation also!

    Madeline, thank you for letting me know! I've just updated the link.

    Scrap Girl: Analytics can be confusing at first, yes. There are some functions that I don't know what to make of still. Still, the map is lots of fun.

  35. I love your blog and your originality. Of course your wonderful personality comes shining through in each and every post you do!!

  36. I would never have guessed that you were shy. Although I suspect a lot of book bloggers would say that they are shy, too.

  37. This is a great post.

    "Comments mean more to me than the number of daily visitors."

    I'm starting to really learn that. Stats make me a little nuts so I try not to look at them very often.

  38. I know what you mean about the comments vs. stats. When I first started I really checked on them and it was fun to see how many more hits my blog was getting, now I hardly ever look at those. I mean, it's neat to know I have readers from all over who may not necessarily comment and I always welcome them but those who comment more often then it's more like we get to know one another and so I do think of you guys as friends! :)

  39. Reading your answers was fun! Number 9 was really interesting, I like how you mention that you can get a feeling of a person even without personal posts. I think this is very true - it would be hard to write anything, without at least a bit of your true self peeking through.

  40. I think we have a pretty good sense of you from reading yor blog, youur reading habbits anyway :) I like your word tree :)

  41. What's your secret for keeping up with so many blogs and commenting all over the place?? I always love seeing new comments from you though so I'm glad you manage it somehow. :)

    I barely remember to look at Google Analytics anymore but I do like the map too. And my search terms are never very funny or weird either. Oh well. Cute lolcat, btw.

  42. I always feel guilty when I find an old post full of unanswered comments. Not sure if anyone subscribed, but better late than never :P

    Staci, you really are too kind *belated thank you hug*

    Jill: I've been told I hide it well :P But yes, it's probably quite common among us bookish folks.

    Vasilly: Yeah, same here. I don't want to start thinking I did something wrong if they go down, so I just ignore them :P

    Iliana: It is neat, but the interaction really is the best part :)

    Joanne: Yes, I completely agree. It drives me crazy when people say you can completely hide your personality online...I guess if you set out to do it deliberately you, but I don't think it's easier to avoid slips online than offline.

    Rhinoa: I think you do too!

    tanabata: My secret is having no social life ;) So...not a good thing :P I'm glad the lolcat was appreciated :D


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.