Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Efficient Blogging: An Oxymoron?

Another "short" post today---I've got writing to do (he says as he contemplates the remote odds of completing a blog post in under ten minutes). My recent participation in the Mother Reader Blog Comment Challenge (visiting and leaving comments on five blogs a day for most of a month) got me to thinking. Admittedly, there is some danger associated with my engaging in that endeavor---thinking, that is. But I feel compelled to forge on.

What it got me to thinking about was how or if it might be possible to become an efficient blogger, to the point where blogging doesn't put the clock in over-drive? In theory, it could work. After all, how difficult could it be to click through five blogs, quickly read the blog post (or some part of one) for the day on each, leave a short if inane comment and get out?

I suppose the answer is, not too difficult if the objective is simply saying you did it---check off the five and move on. Never mind the whole other question of actually responding to the comments you may receive. Do you "reply" on your own blog or do you take the time to visit the commenter's blog and leave a random comment there? At best it seems we are sticking up yellow sticky notes on random bulletin boards in the Student Union of life. Is that any way to live?

When I'm blogging, what tends to happen is one thing leads to another. I get sidelined by something provocative or interesting and truly amazing that someone whom I have never met has written on their blog. And just as I am poised to click "PASTE" in the comment box, leaving something like: "Nice blog post. I would never have thought of that---this is so interesting I'll be back when I have more time.", my click finger gets a spasm, the only cure for which seems to be repetitive tapping on a succession of keys on the keyboard.

There go my hopes and dreams of blogging efficiency, suddenly dashed on the rocks of reflection and response. A blog comment here and another there and suddenly it's noon in a time zone several hours to the west, you know, like the middle of the Pacific as I sit in the only room in the house with a light on. That's about the time I hear the click of the front door latch as my wife arrives home from work, stumbling into the dark entryway, living room and kitchen. Had I been faster, I could have turned on some lights, at least leaving the illusion that I have done something else besides blogging the day away.

Now back to my original question: Is efficient blogging even remotely feasible or is it simply another oxymoron? The best I can hope to do is provide you with the definition and let you be the judge. According to The Urban Dictionary (and probably most others), the term "oxymoron" comes from the Greek words "oxy" (sharp) and "moros" (dull). Its meaning is any number of variations including something about two words which contradict or conflict with each other, that is, have opposite meanings often in a humorous or sarcastic way. Examples include: "Reality TV", "Jumbo Shrimp", "Healthy Tan", "Military Intelligence", "Free Trade", "Benevolent Dictator" and the list goes on....

So, where will each of you come down on the question? Good luck with your own attempts at achieving blogging efficiency. Whether successful or not, feel free to share a comment here based on your first hand empirical evidence. In a few days, I will wander back to compile the results from this admittedly unrepresentative sample. Until then, to paraphrase SNL from days past: "Blog on, Garth!"


  1. Hi Bill, we've been blogging actively for only 18 months, but I found that what worked best for me is to draft, write and schedule my posts during the weekend (as much as four or five blogposts) - and kind of spread them out over the next few days (so we have something like 10-14 days of blog posts in advance). Given the demands of my work in the university, I feel this compulsive need to structure and order my life somehow. So my blogging takes a large chunk of my time during weekends (drafting and scheduling) and I devote a few hours in the evening (normally before I go to sleep) to visit other blogs and leave comments during weekdays. I would also visit some of the older posts of other friends and leave comments as much as I could. I understand that it does take quite a bit of time visiting and commenting, so I make it strategic and devote an hour or so in the evening or late afternoon to do just this. I suppose after awhile, I've gotten the hang of it, and surprisingly, I manage to do and finish so many other things besides. :)

  2. Hi, Myra. Thanks very much for sharing your approach to blogging. You are much more systematic and disciplined than I am. But as I read your description of how you stay ahead of your blogs, I can totally understand how helpful that could be. In fact, I have sometimes thought about lining up a few blog ideas ahead of time---not necessarily finished posts but just the ideas I want to capture. Then I will have a starting point when I write the actual post at a later time. In reality, most of the time, once I start a blog post, I get sucked into the vortex until it is done, which is usually when my legs and feet are numb---kind of like now at 2:25 a.m. Thanks so much, again, for your thoughtful comment. I will drop by your blog before I quit for the night just to connect and add myself to your list of followers.

  3. Hi Bill, I suppose it helps that there are three of us running GatheringBooks as well. The post that you responded to about Murakami's novel on running is one written by Iphigene - who also reviews books and manages the IT aspect of the website - the layout, posters, graphics, design and such.

    Fats also contributes quite a number of thoughtful reviews - she's currently based in San Diego. Iphigene is based in the Philippines (taking graduate school and working too) and I am based in Singapore (I'm a teacher educator in a university) - both Fats and Iphigene are my former students in Psychology.

    It's great that we have a lovely system going and that we never run out of creative ideas to try out on the blog. So I suppose it's more vibrant and fun and always light-hearted too. :)

  4. Hi Bill, thanks for sharing your perspective on blogging. Since I started my blog 9 months ago, I've strived for consistency...posting and blogging on Mon, Wed, and Fri. This allows me enough days to work on my own writing projects. Those that leave a comment on my blog, I do make it a point to respond thoughtfully and make sure I leave a comment on their blog. My motto: if someone takes the time to visit and comment on my blog, then I should do the same. It does take time out of my day, but that's the goal of building an audience/readership.

  5. Excellent philosophy, Blessy. It does make sense to go to the commenter's blog because they may not necessarily come back to the same blog on the same day they had previously commented. I'll be right over to your blog momentarily.

  6. I struggle with both sides of the equation, blogging efficiently when I post things, and spending my time efficiently and wisely when reading other blogs.

    On the blogging side, I start a lot of drafts of blog posts that are half-finished. I don't have a strict schedule but I like to post twice a week. So when it feels like it's time to post something, I'll go through my drafts and find one that seems right and I'll finish it up. Sometimes I'll cheat a bit and go through my tweets to see if there is anything there I can reblog or highlight.

    On the commenting side, I find myself getting caught up in reading a long string of comments. So now I try to limit the times I'm just surfing and reading other blogs to specific times.

    By the way, I wanted to let you know that your comment on one of my illustrations (goldfish) gave me the idea to do my most recent illustration for Illustration Friday (come by my blog and check it out). So thanks!

  7. Hi, Sylvia. I remember stopping by your blog again so long ago. But I just realized I hadn't replied here. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. As you can see, it's been a while since I have done any writing on my own blog. Looking forward to getting back into it a bit more now. Hoping this finds your well these days.