Small is beautiful according to some bloggers, who find establishing relationships with a more intimate community helps them get the most from their blogging without experiencing blog burnout. What would it change if you stopped checking your stats and logs? What would it change if you didn't care about who and how many were reading you? How would you blog differently if you were whispering to your best online friends, not broadcasting to the blogosphere? Jen Lemen explores the beauty of a more intimate online space with passionate bloggers Rachelle Mee-Chapman. Krystyn Heide stepped in to help at the last minute, so that Elaine could attend to her hospitalized husband.
Rachelle Mee-Chapman opens and describes the intent of the session, "Small is Beautiful," which is to celebrate and support a smaller blogging community. "If you are doing what you love, and can't stand *not* to do it, then this is the place for you." Quotes 'Joyful Girl' by Ani diFranco. Cleansing breath. Aaaand, we're ready!
Jen Lemen speaks, and explains that this is a topic dear to her heart, and that she submitted the idea for the panel along with friends.
"Small" has different definitions to everyone, so we won't concentrate on that. Whatever you think of as "small" regarding your blog, just run everything through that personal filter. Asks attendees what appealed to them about this panel--why they chose to be here.
Comment: Curiosity about what the panel is about, when everyone seems to be obsessed with growing traffic.
Comment: Discouraged by some of the panels that focused so intensely on TRAFFIC and GROWTH, and wanted to come here and get tips on maintaining passion and not worrying about size.
Comment: Personal aspiration for developing COMMUNITY.
Jen talks about how, when you're focused on how many people are reading, what you feel about the validity of what you're writing may be affected. She emphasizes, "YOUR STORIES MATTER." Emphasize your "good angel!" Asks, What do you get out of blogging, if only one person reads it?
Comment: Began using online journaling for convenience, and does not care how many are reading it, but cares more about the final product and the quality of her writing because there is an audience, however small. "I go back and read my own posts, and that pleases me."
Comment: It makes a record to remind me, "Hey, I have a beautiful life."
Comment: Because of something I wrote, someone took a personal action that made a difference in her life. Even if it was just that one person, it made an impact.
Comment: Leaving something for your children, so they can have a "picture" of how you were at different stages in life.
Comment: Writing about my children, good and bad...they LOVE to read the stories, at ages, 10 and 12.
Comment: Doesn't have time to "reciprocate" by commenting, etc. on other blogs, and appreciates that the people who are reading get something from it. Also derives great satisfaction when someone gets a kick out of a post.
Comment: Have never checked stats, ever. Point of view of "writing for three people."
Rachelle speaks about allowing a stat-counter to "alter your voice." If you're trying to write in an uninfluenced voice, it's good to leave the stats alone.
Comment: Goes back and forth on the issue of stats. Have been an internet professional, it is of interest to see "how private" your blog is. It might affect what you post.
Comment: The things you must do to "brand yourself" seem antithetical to the way I blog, but the readership I've built is loyal, committed, and invested. (this commentor just had a piece picked up by Better Homes and Gardens magazine) "I don't want careless people in my space, because I have a lot of breakables."
Comment: Has noticed a trend in reduction of comments since the growth in use of feed-readers...which can be a good thing, in terms of "privacy."
Comment: Began blogging to keep friends updated. Then planned a major move and needed to talk about it, so blogged the process...became aware of "the world of blogging," and let it affect how she blogged, lost some of the personal impact to the core audience. This informed the decision to keep the blog small.
Jen: Does authenticity suffer when you worry about traffic?
Comment: Analogy of blogging as "junior high."
Comment: Checks sitemeter daily, just out of curiosity, does not let it affect content.
Jen: I want to make clear statements--to those I know, and to everyone--so more people can feel empowered about working toward their dreams. I want to take my "mission" viral. Anyone else?
Comment: (Tracey Clark) I really do want to share on my personal site, so that moms can take better pictures of their kids, and share the passion for photography. I don't want to worry about the stats, but I do want to share the message.
Comment: Uses search temrs to see how people find the blog.
Comment: Have a sketch-blog, to practice and improve artistic skills. Loves when someone takes something they saw, and applies it in practice themselves.
Rachelle talks about how inspiration is important, and that more traffic should not affect that.
Comment: We should have a common list of attendees here, because this group has a "tribal" feel!
Response: email firstname.lastname@example.org, and she will help you sign up to a "Small is Beautiful" Google group and assign sk*rt tags on your blogs.
Comment: Began blogging to stay in touch with traveling husband, while at home with special needs child, and sought community. Didn't find a lot of info, so just started putting own story "out there" and to reassure/support others in the same position. Honored to be here, because EVERYONE has a great story.
Jen begins to close things up, acknowledging that we will not have enough time for everyone to speak...
Comment: Observing irony in celebrating "smallness" while "networking." Response: There is a difference between COMMUNITY and TRAFFIC.
Comment: Rather than the blog getting bigger, the *world* has gotten smaller, which is what is important personally.
Comment: If you are writing with intent and authenticity, then checking your stats, whether you're at one reader or one thousand, will not have any affect on what you post.
Comment: In a world where we're bombarded with media messages, what is special about blogging is that it can be targeted to a specific audience, which could very well be an audience of one. It's more meaningful of someone "finds" you because they're "looking" for you.
Rachelle speaks briefly about growth informing content, and ending blogs when they cease to be coming out of passion, and begin to come out of trend-following. OTOH, writing passionately can be exhausting, so it is great to have like-minded internet community.
A virtual "love-present" for all attendees is at www.jenlemen.com!
NOTE: Several people have given this live-blogger cards with URLS, in response to comments about building community, and here is what I have so far:
If your blog is not listed, and you'd like it to be, just leave a comment here and I'll add it. If I have you here by mistake, just comment or email me, ninjapoodlesATgmailDOTcom.