Reflections … again. It’s always good to reflect on the A to Z Challenge, but I doubt whether I have anything to say that I didn’t say last year, except for some new observations about the state of blogging.
I did consider leaving my observations for a guest post on TSRA this coming Sunday, but I chickened out and asked him if I could take a posting break, and he was happy for me to do so. I love that Ape.
Reflections on this year’s AtoZ
Generally speaking, I got out of it what I put in. I celebrated my past AtoZs in the spirit of the anniversary. Some people liked the idea, some seemed to think it was a bit of a cheat. I had trouble getting to as many blogs participating as I intended, but returned the visit of everyone who visited me and left comments. You know why from last week’s IWSG post. Too much going on.
There was one thing that really surprised me, though.
Despite the exhortation from the A to Z team, I came across several blogs participating that didn’t have comments open, and some that didn’t have sharing buttons. Some didn’t have any way of following the blog, either. This seemed extremely strange to me.
Why participate in AtoZ if you don’t want people to like, return to, and invite their friends to discover your blog?
I remember one in particular that was a poetry blog. Unusually, I was very taken with it. I couldn’t follow it in any way. I added it to my Pinterest board, but since I didn’t use my Pinterest board this year, I’ll not revisit till next year at the earliest. What a waste for that person’s effort.
Blogging for profit
I’m starting to wonder whether blogging for profit has overtaken the joy of web-logging i.e. your own personal blog.
All this emphasis on keywords, SEO, short sentences, bullet points, and heaven help us if you say something interesting in your 300 word guideline.
I know I can improve my message. But do I want it to be a message, or a chat with friends?
So many of the AtoZ’s own posts were just lists of words beginning with the letter of the day. What’s the point? Is that really blogging?
Reflections on my favourite bloggers
It’s clearly the case that my favourite bloggers have something to say that needs more than bullet points. Vidya Sury, Csenge Zalka, Liz Brownlee, Roland Clarke, J Lenni Dorner (who even made a book from his AtoZ challenge), all have posts with stories and information. Patricia Lynne managed to get a short story of her word of the day and be informative all in about 300 words, which, frankly, was absolutely brilliant! I liked the few travel blogs I saw. I’ve been enjoying the Ninja Librarian’s New Zealand trip and, as always, the Glasgow Gallivanter’s gallivanting, but they wisely stayed out of the AtoZ.
But all these have what I would describe as proper blog posts.
Maybe I’m old-fashioned. Maybe blogging has had its day as a way of communicating thoughts and words and experiences.
Maybe E M Forster was right when he wrote in The Machine Stops about the only thing people may do is rehash old material, it isn’t allowed to have new ideas in the machine age.
And my final reflection before encouraging you to visit my guinea pigs’ blog…
I’m posting this late because the AtoZ team didn’t release the reflections badge until their post on Monday.
Otherwise, they worked very hard, probably for scant reward.
Blogging numbers were down.
Comment numbers were down.
Perhaps ten AtoZs is enough?
Is blogging as we know it on the way out?