Category Archives: social media

To Enumerate, Or Not To Enumerate

Another post from the Hamlet series

Okay, so I am still trying to learn the tricks of this trade, and I am always happy to listen to more experienced bloggers with lots of followers.  But there is one piece of blogging canon that is beginning to get on my nerves:

Thou shalt sprinkle thy posts with numbers.

“5 Things Readers Don’t Want to See.” – “ 7 Common Mistakes in Script Submissions.” – “The 8 Rules of Success.” And, apologies to Copyblogger who post fabulous advice but this is just too much: “37 Tips For Writing Emails That Get Opened, Read and Clicked.”

37… Dog help me, that is one post I am not going to open, read and click.

I get it. Numbers, bullet points do help drive home the message, and they also help me retain the message – provided there aren’t too many. Once they threaten me with more than 10 points, I switch off. And that has nothing to do with the shortness of my digital-age attention span. In fact, my attention span is pretty good (especially when I find something to procrastinate over). But serve me a post with 37 bullet points, and I will not retain even the first five.

That’s one thing that bugs me about the enumeration craze. The other is that these days everybody and their uncle are doing it. Sometimes I have the impression that a blogger sat down and thought, I have to do numbers, so what can I possibly write around eleven numbers? Or  perhaps they have a good idea for content but feel obliged to squeeze it into the enumeration corset, and so lose the freedom to argue and engage.

I guess that’s it for me. Numbers don’t invite me to engage. They lecture. Often it is good advice that is offered this way. But IMHO there is too much of it out there.

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To Follow, Or Not To Follow

A post from the Hamlet series*

So many blogs, so little time. And everyone wants followers and likes. So do I.

When, in the course of a recent #wpad blog challenge,  I increased my blogging frequency, I was thrilled to see that the number of my readers went up significantly. (Okay, that was from five to forty-five, but hey.) But then I began to be suspicious.

Some likes and follows hit my inbox within two minutes of posting. Not only did this seem too short for anyone to have actually read the post. But some of the likes came from halfway around the globe, time-zones where it was 3 a.m. at the time of my posting. Now there are many night-owls out there, and I do apologize to my “serious readers”. But I began to wonder whether, just like in twitter, these were automatic follows. You know, some sort of set-up that trawls blogs for keywords and hits the “follow” button without reading the actual post. (I am fairly ignorant about the mechanics and tricks of social media – there probably is a proper term for this.)

That wouldn’t matter so much – other than deflate my recently puffed-up blogger’s ego – but herein lies the rub: it is netiquette to like or follow back, right? Well, I always go to the pages of my new followers and I read some of their stuff, and I am happy to write “thanks for posting / liking / following”. But I will only follow back if I intend to read their blogs on a more or less regular basis. No offense, but I simply do not have the time to read all, and I find it dishonest to hit “follow” just for the sake of netiquette. I do not want to receive dozens of notifications about new posts every day, because I will feel obliged to follow up, and there aren’t enough hours in the week to do my “professional” reading and my own writing to start with.

So I will not always follow back if you follow me.

Have I just lost half of my readership? I hope not. (And if my theory is correct, they don’t read this anyway, he he.) Rather, I hope that people will engage with me. Comment if and when they have actually read my post, which will always prompt me to go to their blog and check it out – and perhaps to follow. Or not. Honestly.

*This post is the first of a series where I plan to use bits and pieces from Hamlet – and perhaps other Shakespeare plays – as prompts.

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Filed under social media