Tuesday, July 31, 2018

One Year of Blogging...

Where does the time go?

Beware:  incoming wall of text. 


Sunrise, Sunset

So it's been one whole year since I've started this blog.  1 year is not a long time in the scheme of things but kinda feels like forever to me.  This whole thing started because I was spending more and more time looking at wargaming blogs for reviews, ideas, just some fun stuff to read, and seemed like people were having a lot fun with the interactions from others, building and maintaining an online community, and I wanted to be a part of it.  So far, I think it's going alright.   I really appreciate all the visits into my own corner of the internet and I hope that my comments encourage others as well.  Actually, I still feel very new to blogging  and it's no small skill to be able to write something that is both entertaining, easy to read and understand, and maybe a little informative.  I hope that I am improving. 


It's Not Me, It's You.

I have no idea how to judge if a blog is successful or not.  Number of Page views? Number of followers? Number of bots that spam your posts?  Is it fun?  For me, the thing that has become the most fun and rewarding aspect of blogging is the COMMENTS!  I like leaving comments on other people's blogs and checking back later to see what they say, and love it when comments are left on my blog.  I think everyone likes comments, and sometimes this creates a rewarding cycle:  I'll leave a comment when you post, you leave a comment when I post...even small comments like "Hey good job, I like that," or "atta boy!" are nice to receive.  And while it might not be EVERY post it's more often than not.  These sort of on-line relationships are the ones that I like best and I count myself LUCKY to have a few of them.  If I have any immediate goals for this blog, it's to increase the number of these mutual symbiotic relationships.

Without receiving comments (and let's not forget the little gift that BW sent me after "the shipping disaster" that I still need to repay),  I think I would of stopped blogging pretty quickly.  It'd be too much like shouting into the void. 
So to the people that consistently leave comments and feedback, even small ones:
Thank you.
I really appreciate it.
And I hope that you think I also consistently provide you with comments, and that they increase your pleasure of blogging.


Comments when content is interesting  

Now that I am a 'Master Blogger" with a whole year of experience; I've noticed two other trends with comments.  One is that people will leave a comment when the post is 'of interest' to them but ignore the rest.  I think this style of interaction represents people who have more specialized interests versus more of a generalized interest in wargaming.  I like all things wargaming so I tend to leave comments everywhere, because I'm a little bit into everything.  This sometimes results in weird situations where I'm following a blog that seems to focus on Napoleonic land battles which I have almost no interest in collecting...( I would play in any nap game, I just don't want to collect the figures)

-why? I find the history hard to follow, I don't know what the soldiers are called (whats a Fusilier, how is it different from a Grenadier,  and what's a Hussar?), the uniforms are intimating the paint, you need a ton of miniatures-

..but the blog is interesting, the author is entertaining, I like the discussion of scenarios and AARs, there are awesome tutorials on terrain and conversions, nicely painted miniatures, etc.  (you get the idea).  So I'll leave comments on their blog post after post.  Sometimes, the person responds back and then we enter into the mutual symbiotic pattern that I described above.  And we all feel happy.

BUT!  And Speaking for myself here; if they don't, or just leave a comment here once in awhile when the post is interesting to them, then I find that my behavior will start to match theirs.  Each one of us leaving comments once in awhile when something peaks our interest.  A pattern of Comments When Interested.
- I don't think this is a bad thing necessarily.  It's perfectly acceptable, it's just not as much fun.  : )

It's also understandable.  Looking back over the last year I've mainly written about ACW and AoS, and if those two subjects don't really interest you then all that is left are my outrageously humorous jokes.  Which should be enough; my wife always rolls her eyes and says that I'm hi-lar-ious.  And one thing I have learned after hundreds of days blogging (365 of them!) is that you got blog about what you find interesting, otherwise it becomes a chore.  It's nice when others also find it interesting but no one is required to.
And I imagine, that most of the people on the 'Followers list' fit this category. Interested enough to read along and comment once in awhile.  These people are also appreciated, and I hope that when a post I write is interesting to you, you'll say so.  I promise that I will do the same.

--unless you have a google plus profile, in which case i'll be lucky to even FIND your blog because I do not know where to look, I just don't understand that platform.  So far I've only been able to find two blogs through google plus and that was by luckily clicking random places.  I also don't know how to leave comments through google plus.  Google plus is lame.

Not responding to Comments in General

The other trend I've seen is that the author doesn't respond to comments at all.  And while people can do what they want, I find this behavior weird.  It's kinda like walking right by someone who just said hello.  I'm sure the person is not intentionally being rude, it's probably just not their style to build interactions.  I've found that on blogs like these, while I might follow along I've stopped leaving comments altogether.  You'll see that on my blog, I like to acknowledge comments with a thank you.  It just seems the right thing to do and I enjoy blogs more that are similar.  

Ok, enough talk of comments, it is time for action!  And that action is: more reading!

Highlights of Year 1

So my original intent in this section was to make a list of blog posts that others had written and that I had really enjoyed, that were posted throughout this first year.  Kinda like; 'here's some stuff that you wrote that I really liked.'  

However, the list started to get too long and cumbersome,  I started to get worried that I'd leave someone out, and getting the links right was such a pain in the ass; that I gave up on that idea.  Either I am way too easy to please and like everything or there is a wealth of excellent blog posts out there.  Not on this blog of course..   How was that for an extra special look behind the scenes here at Terrible Loss.  And because I am a comments leaving machine I know I've already told you how awesome your post was.  Just know that if I said that I really enjoyed a post or series of posts, that I meant it.  

My blogroll has grown tremendously, and the number of blogs that I actively read has increased.  I really do enjoy what I read and makes me feel more connected to this wargaming hobby.  Which great for a guy like me who doesn't get to game as much as he likes; because families ruin everything.   I also figured out how to get it to display only a certain number of blogs at once, because I don't like it that the list just goes on and on and on down the page.

It's Not You, It's Me.  

On a much more manageable topic, let's talk about little ol' me.
Looking back through my posts, I find that I still like most of them.  I think I can see a small improvements over time in being more clear.  Overall; my favorite posts are the ones that are more than just "hey, I painted something (poorly)" or "look, I played a game;"  my favorite posts of mine include a discussion about the scenario, a review of some sort, and the tutorials.
-The tutorials are not meant to hold myself up as an example of being awesome, but hopefully come across more as "here is what I did, I hope this will be helpful to you."  Also that if I was able to construct something than anyone can; I am not known for being the most handy or good at skilled labor.

Also I am pleased that the blog has an overarching tone of fun and being positive.  We all could use more of those qualities in our lives.


38 comments:

  1. Coming up on blog year two myself in September, so I share your observations of still feeling one's way forward. Your commentary on comments articulates a shared appreciation, I would suggest, among bloggers. As far as your blog, it is a welcome addition, and I enjoy it. As far as blogging itself, I think it is it's own reward as well. When I get self conscious about posting something ("who the heck am I to..."), I remember the appreciation that I derive from other people's blogs and that anxiety drops.

    So, happy birthday! Looking forward to year two!

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    1. Why thank you Ed. I’m very pleased you enjoy the blog and I yours. My blogging style is influenced by you.

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  2. Congratulations on Year 1, Stew!

    Your thoughts on blogging, in general, and commenting in particular are insightful. I enjoy receiving comments on my blog posts and enjoyed your assessment of comment reciprocity. To me, commenting is a means of encouragement, camaraderie, and a small offering to show appreciation for posting interesting content.

    As Ed states, blogging "is its own reward." Certainly true but so much more fulfilling when others share your passion and tangibly appreciate your work.

    On to Year 2!

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    1. Thank you Jon. I think you and I have done very similar attitudes. Reciprocity is a much better way of putting it than my ‘mutual symbiotic’. Makes me want to edit the post. ๐Ÿ˜€
      You and Ed have it right that there is an inherent sense of satisfaction in blogging but that sense is increased through comments. Especially as one of my main goals was to build / join into an online community. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  3. Happy Blog birthday Stew, I think most bloggers would recognise much of your post. I have gone around the ‘comments’ issue several times and have mixed views on it, some of which are becomming tempered by reality and practicality.

    Of value are Followers because they like your content enough to subscribe and during those times when I have thought about terminating the blog, in truth it is the follower element that has generally brought me up short and encouraged me to carry on.

    It would be a nightmare if everyone commented as it would be a full time job replying, but it is the near absence of comments from what we might term as ‘strangers’ that is most concerning. I get enough comments to keep me going, but they are generally from a solid core of like-minded thoughtful folk who see the courtesy of commenting as part of the heart of what makes the blogosphere what it is, but looking at my visitor numebrs, surely just every now and then someone who I don’t know should at least feel obliged to to just say they have enjoyed reading the blog ... even it is only a kindy BOT :-)

    I feel a little bit strongy about it because I spend more time at the keyboard on blog posts than I do gaming / painting / reading etc. I write significant articles and spend time rewriting them so that they can be enjoyed by a readership. It just strikes me as odd that consumers can consume so much for free without even the odd thanks. If you wanted even a fraction of that content in a magazine you would pay for it.

    Now forthe reality bit, firstly people don’t comment, so I need to get over that ... period. People do have a HUGE amount of content to sift through, especially if they are saddled with Facebook! Etc. And the modern response to that is to fast browse and swipe on - get the gist and move on. I watched someone on their pad the other day do that, it was quite a revelation. It somewhat diminished the value of what they looked at, but the swiping becomes a behviour or habit.

    And so reality number two ..... I like my posts and think they are worthwhile, but that does not mean others do or should do and significantly to perhaps fit better into the modern way, I should seriously consider significantly reducing net footprint and maybe do articles that can be presented in 3 paragraphs and are supported by 2 photographs, I am starting to think that that is a sensible formula that would actually increase the chances of actually being read and enjoyed and would significantly free up more hobby time for me.

    I like writing, but perhaps the time has come to direct those efforts towards something that rewards, such as writing for the magazines.

    I’m stopping now before this reply becomes bigger than your post :-)

    Again, congratulations on making the year and still having fun and for making me want to do something with ships and fine rigging :-)

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    1. Don't reduce your blog footprint, Norm. I enjoy your board game walk throughs and battle reports. Those would not fit so well in a three paragraph/two photo design. Your longer posts always include insights that I enjoy reading.

      Besides, if you switch to magazines, you will lose at least one dedicated reader.

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    2. Thanks Jonathan, I am probably a bit jaded from my marathon 'Kursk month' posting, which took an unsustainable amount of effort. Often the subject is deserving of a longer style post.

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    3. Thanks for your long and thought out comment Norm. It is a circle of like minded individuals who leave most comments; I often see the same icons over and over!
      While there is a practical level to consider about the time it would take to ‘actively participate’ with others if I suddenly became super popular, there’s probably an upper limit on how many people would actually leave comments; all for the reasons you mentioned. I am lucky in that I’ve avoided Facebook.

      I appreciate your comments Norm and I like your blogging style.

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  4. congratulations on completing your first year as a blog author. One year is a proper milestone and not one to take lightly. My general experience, from reading and following hundreds of blogs, is that those that survive the first year are more likely to keep going for a long time. Writing a blog take effort and commitment and you've passed the first test of blog longevity. Long may it continue.

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    1. Thank you Lee. I am still such a new blogger I really appreciate the encouragement. I don’t think I’ll have it in me to follow hundreds of blogs like you have. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  5. Congratulations!

    I try to reply to every comment that is made, if only as a matter of courtesy.

    As a result of blogging I have made friends across the world, and I've even had the opportunity to meet quite a few. Their encouragement has enabled me to try my hand at writing wargame books (and other books as well) and this has helped give my retirement some purpose.

    All the best,

    Bob

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    1. Thank you very much Bob. I have the same blog goals of ‘making friends around the world’ I’ll have to check out your blog.

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  6. Congrats on your first year!

    I think keeping a blog going means that in ultimately has to be fun / rewarding for you, the blogger. I still go back to my old posts from years ago - it becomes a sort of hobby diary / journal after a while. That said, while I agree 100% both with your core message about comments and interaction, but Norm's points are well taken. I probably have well over a hundred other blogs I "follow", although they vary in their degree of activity, and become more or less relevant to me over time as my interests and theirs con- and diverge. I've also found over the years that my own rate of posting and commitment to blogging varies with time, my degree of hobby opportunity, etc.

    The one thing I can offer as advice is to not be reluctant to return if you find yourself with a bit of a gap in posts. Just because you've let the blog lie fallow for a bit doesn't mean you can't come back to it once you feel the urge again.

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    1. Thank you Fire! I take the point about how interests will be in greater sync than others. Though in my whole one year of experience I’ve found that if the author is showing some personality and style compatible to mine it almost doesn’t matter what topics they discuss bc I’ll find it interesting.
      Unless it’s sci-fi gaming, then never mind. ๐Ÿ˜€
      I appreciate your comments Fire. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  7. Congratulations! One year is a good milestone, particularly with as much content as you have managed to produce.

    And always remember, blogging is for you, so if you are having fun, or want to talk about something, go for it. Otherwise there is no shame in letting a bit of time go by before you next post (that is what I have been telling myself this year).

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    1. Thanks Las! I don’t know if I’ve been super productive; only done 40 odd posts and some are super short. The whole blogging experience is still so new to me that the novelty of having something to post about is consistent. It’s not so much a want of topics but of time to write. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  8. Has it only been a year? I seem to come across your blog quite regularly. One of the best blog names, i think!

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    1. Thanks Salts! That’s probably due to my shameless self promotion.

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  9. Another interesting post Stew and congratulations once again on achieving the first year with enthusiasm intact and content always of interest. I certainly agree with your thoughts on comments and feel that if [people take the time to visit my blog and navigate the entrails of Bloger-sphere to add a comment, that it is as courtesy to reply in kind, if only to say thank you. However I do admit to being a miffed when a comment on someone else's blog goes unanswered - perhaps it is all about ME after all :^).

    Keep up the excellent work.

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    1. Thanks Carlo! I’m very glad that you have found the blog interesting as I enjoy yours so much. ๐Ÿ˜€
      I get the same miffed feeling; sometimes more when I see replies to others and mine is skipped!

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  10. I agree with your comments about comments. :) I try to respond to most comments on my blog and I like to leave comments on the blogs of others.

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    1. Thanks Codsticker! I’ll have to check out your blog. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  11. Happy birthday indeed....many a true comment. I think the community feel and in my experience overwhelming positivity is what encourages me to keep blogging. My challenge is blogging takes up quite a lot of time and with many interests there is a danger it become the reason rather than the communication tool. I am not sure how to manage this. Blogging has certainly had a positive impact on my gaming though ๐Ÿค”

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    1. Thanks Matt! Blogging does take a lot of time and sometimes it’s hard to articulate what I am trying to say. But blogging has indeed been a positive experience. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  12. Congrats on reaching the 1 year mark. I've been writing my blog for almost 4 years and my experience seems to match yours regarding comments from readers. I find that the blog acts like a diary of my gaming interests, and how they wax and wane overtime. The most enjoyable posts to write are reviews and thoughts about rules and game mechanisms, and these seem to generate the most interest from readers. I try to be as honest as possible with my opinions but a degree of diplomacy needs to be shown because the subject matter is the product of another gamers hard work and passion.
    I wish you well for the future and may your blog continue for many years to come.

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    1. Thanks Mark Outlaw ( which is a cool profile name). I’ll have to check out your blog. I understand about reviews needing a little tact. So far, my reviews except for one were all mostly positive.

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  13. Congrats Stew. Agree logging in to see if you have any new comments to your posts can become addictive, but as any addiction can be a negative thing if you find none. I admit I tend to only comment on articles that either interest me directly or I feel that I can add something to. I do however always try and reply to comments on my own blog, if only right if someone has put the effort in to comment.
    Long may your blog journey continue, and you know napoleonics can look great in 15mm too, go on you know you want to really :) after you finish your ACW of course.

    Tony.

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    1. Thanks Tony. No worries: at least I know that I’ve been posting content that is interesting to you. Which is fair bc I find your blog interesting. ๐Ÿ˜€
      Don’t try to temp me into naps! Others have tried. Nap games always look good on the table. The flags, the uniforms...the formations,

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  14. Happy Blog day. I can understand many of the things you highlighted. I have been blogging for I think nearly 7 years now and must follow like 300+ blogs. My main problem these days is time. I used to be in a position where I had lots of spare time during the day at work to catch up with blogs and keep on top of everyone's stuff. I do try and reply to all comments.

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    1. Thanks Simon. 300 blogs would take a lot of time, I don’t know if I could do even 100.
      Right now, I also do most of my blog writing while at work; so sometimes posts are influenced by how busy I am that week. ๐Ÿ˜€

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    2. Yeah same here. Pretty much. I used to cover for a number site engineers so probably 60% of my normal working hours were spent doing someone elses job and usually sitting in front of a pc when there was no jobs on.

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    3. ๐Ÿ˜€. I have a triage type job: so unless someone’s crying, screaming, or bleeding I don’t have much to do.

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  15. Congratulations on your productive year,I recognise what you say about symbiotic comments, primarily Ive been doing the blog as a catalogue of work done with comments a bonus,replying does just seem the polite thing to do,my posts do because of that tend to be the" stuff I've painted" mostly as opposed to Norms high quality articles and I know even in my limited AAR the time spent is quite high. A good first year,I look forward to Napoleonic land battles in 28mm next year or maybe Rennaisance Italy,come on in you know you want too!
    Best Iain

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    1. Hahaha thanks Iain! Who knows what the next year will bring? Though likely not any of those. I like being your symbiont. ๐Ÿ˜€
      I think the use of the word symbiont just raised the ‘smarty pants’ level of the blog.

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  16. First up congratulations on you first birthday. Having seen six with my Shed Wars blog it only gets better. Having a recorded diary of your hobby activity is a wonderful thing.

    My blog has opened up new friends and a world of gaming. You just need to be disciplined to keep at it.

    I am one of those bloggers who responds rarely to comments ...chiefly because of time. i take your point on board and will try to do better.

    All the best for the next year

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    1. Thanks Eric. I’m very familiar with your blog; I suppose that when a blog is as insanely popular as yours it could be quite a time commitment to respond to comments.
      I hope that my blogging experience will be as rewarding as yours. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  17. Happy blog birthday matey. Is not a simple thing to summon the energy and time to write and consistently post on one’s own blogs, so a year in the books is a worthy celebration for sure. I’m soon to hip-hooray my seventh year, which is rather eerie to be honest as I was certain I’d get bored of this blogging lark years ago.

    Time is of the essence and I have limited supplies of time now I’ve actually started taking stock of my life and trying to make something of it “professionally” (A term I use lightly), whereas my previous positions allowed me oodles of time to both peruse and write blog posts. I have 150-200 blogs on my roll I think and I feel a more than a little overwhelmed by the amount of time it takes to give each and every one that is updated the respect and attention it deserves (imo). Of late, I’ve hardly been on my blog or anyone else’s at all really regardless of my new job or not. Tends to lead to a little “bloggers’ shame” I think, because it seems everyone else’s blogs are still chugging along smoothly and I just can’t keep up in the spare 5-7 minute spare moments I have. But I agree with you entirely on the comments…. Comment(?). reciprocating builds a community and I’m very lucky to have grown a fine collection of followers and an even finely tuned cadre of regular commenters that I fear I don’t truly deserve because I haven’t the time to keep up with their blogs in return. But then, “some” effort is better by far than none, eh?

    Keep up the engrossing postings my friend.

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    1. Hi Dai!
      I appreciate you getting me into blogging in the first place.
      I completely get the time spent thing, as my time spent on blogging stuff just steadily increases and I think; there’s got to be an upper limit here. I also right now do most of my blog writing while at work, but I’ve also been looking to advance sometime and that will impact how much I can do. But time will tell. You also have a lot of other stuff that demands you time and needs must be a priority.
      Hopefully next month we can get together. ๐Ÿ˜€

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