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Written on December 7, 2004, and categorized as Secret and Invisible.
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I have tried to avoid it but I can’t. Using Blog Explosion has done my brain in. I keep reading other people’s comments about using Blog Explosion. I keep commenting on Blogs. Now, I find myself doing the washing up and thinking about the phenomenon, so I may as well chip in with my tuppenyworth.

1.THE MYTH OF MORE READERS

Blog Explosion is fuelled by blogging people who want readers. This is how they market themselves. The system relies on you staying a minumum 30 seconds before clicking through to next one. You get (they claim) 2:1 traffic.

Your activity earns you “credits” which buy you more visits, or banner impressions, whichever you decide. However, THE CHANCES ARE THAT YOUR BLOG IS NOT BEING READ. It’s just part of the churn. The churn is illusory, and just gives the impression (no pun) that you have lots of activity on your blog. Only about 2% or 3% of this translates into readers, if you are lucky. It’s QUALITY you really want, not QUANTITY. The visitors that you want are the ones who actually read your writing, and respond.

2.WRITING SUFFERS AS A RESULT

Pre-occupation with readership is destroying content. I can’t remember where I read it, but someone pointed out that she (I think it was a she) had been clicking away for endless hours, and kept coming back to the same blogs – and they HAD NOT BEEN UPDATED. She was urging bloggers to spend less time surfing member blogs and not to desert their own. I would make the additional point that the system rewards those who surf a lot using the BE system, so their blogs have a greater chance of appearing in the members window. Which means, they cannot be writing as much, and / or, they have not got a life. Maybe they never did have, but that’s another story. (NB to self: get a life.)

But, although I agreed with her post, ARE WE SURE THAT WRITING ABOUT BLOGGING IS WORTHWHILE ? I suspect blogs about blogging are very boring to very many people now, and very shortly, will be pretty meaningless to even the most dedicated blogger. There are SO MANY GOOD SUBJECTS out there, why on earth does BE occupy us for more than a moment ? (NB: This is my very own BE moment… )

3.“FREE” BLOG EXPLOSION = YOU SPEND CASH

Someone else pointed out that the amount of banners your credits bought went down from 40 to 25. Last night it was 28, so I guess it varies, probably depending on usage. But their point was: ULTIMATELY THIS IS ABOUT MONEY. He said, in the end, I saved my index finger and bought credits. Of course he did. That’s what will happen to all of us, eventually.

4.BLOGGING CLOGGING

I have a good ADSL network connection from a major ISP with excellent technical support. I frequently get this (click pic to enlarge):

When I first joined, I couldn’t see the top bar properly. That seems to have cleared. Now I am earning credits, but I CANNOT SEE ANY SITES AT ALL ! Which undermines the whole system. BE tell me it’s my browser (it’s not), my network (it’s not) my Mac (it’s not). Read my support ticket. They say they have nobody else with my experiences.. ? Comments please.

5.RATING SYSTEM SUSPENDED

This is surely a good thing about BE – you can rate blogs. Except – it’s switched off !! It’s the system’s achilles heel because it was revealing who you are to other people by making your voting record public. Votes should equal more traffic – except that it’s an easy thing to abuse and it will bring out the zealots.. OK, maybe I don’t want people to realise I always give 1 to Nazis and 10 to anything I think is going to save the world (or at least my sleep-deprived, caffeine-addled part of it) – but I think this feature is scaring the actual builders of BE, since they are taking a long time to change the way this works.

6.COMPULSIVE / OBSESSIVE

It is. I surf, you surf, we surf, we check our stats. We see them rise. We surf more. We stay home more to surf. We check our stats. They are up. We surf more. We skip meals. We skip work. That can wait, I’m surfing. I’ll go to bed in 10 minutes. No, I found a good blog I actually want to read. Shit, I could have clicked AND read it. Fuck, I missed a number. Now I wasted 30 secs. This blog is shit. Shall I rate it zero ? This blog is cool. There are too many cool blogs, i can’t read them all unless I stay up forever and eat nothing but amphetamines. My fingers are sore and my eyes ache. I must sleep. Must assign credits. Must get more traffic. Must use credit card. See the way it works ?!!!

7.BLOG EXPLOSION = BIG HAPPY “COMMUNITY”

No it doesn’t. It’s more like a class of 8 year olds all waving their single-page essay in the air, yelling “me! me! me!” in the effort to get Teacher to read it out. I suffer badly at least 25% of the time I am surfing. I just don’t NEED any more exposure to Christianity, Pro-Lifers, Right Wingers, Goths, Stay-at-home Moms, Angsty Teens hu Karnt Spell, Blogs about Blogs, Happily Married Americans, Gadgety Geeks, Belligerent Bigots, or Trite Moralists. I get plenty enough of that at home.

8.BLOG EXPLOSION = WANNABE GRAVEYARD

Yes, I know, that is harsh. But I put myself in that category, so I am at least not hypocritical. Who do you write for ? Do you care about your readers ? Does it matter who they are ? Do you enter into dialogue ? Do you express yourself ? Does it help you ? Does it help ANYBODY ELSE ? Does anybody actually care ? If you are miraculously successful and / or extraordinarily gifted, then you will be immune to this charge. But what is your measure of success ? (I feel a web poll coming on…)

BE is predicated on the basis that people who want to promote themselves and their blogs will use it. Who is likely to succeed within this system ? It will end up being either the self-obsessed, the idle, or the wealthy. Hard working, less-than-rich good writers with day jobs need not apply.

My advice to you Blog Explosioners is: for some real readership, surf the net. Use Google / Yahoo to find content on topics you are actually interested in. Turn on the Blogger nav bar, click “next blog”. Leave comments with your URL. Swap links manually. Make friends. Submit to search engines. If you must, buy banner advertising OUTSIDE of Blog Explosion – your readers may then actually want to read your writing.

I am not alone in my thinking: read this site.

I am now off to write a piece of music called “The Inevitable Blog Explosion Post”. Bring on the cornet. May the Lord have mercy on my blog.

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This thing has 18 Comments

  1. Darryl
    Posted 7 December, 2004 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    That makes a whole lot of sense .. I’ve been thinking along much the same path myself. Blog Explosion is fun for a little while, but we are only ‘Exploding’ for more visits and the potential for a higher blog rating. There is more to blogging than this. Long live the revolution!!

  2. Shona
    Posted 7 December, 2004 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    You are so right. I am thinking of detaching myself from BE because the extra traffic is just an illusion (ie does not equal readers) and I am not interested in reading so many of the same types of blogs (My Baby, My Knitting, My Right-Wing Philosophies…)
    Happy blogging
    Shona
    http://www.procrastinatehere.com

  3. Dave
    Posted 7 December, 2004 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I’ve had over 7,000 visitors to my site since signing up for BE. Does that make me happy? Not necessarily, and I realize that doesn’t reprepresent 7,000 people. But I have met a small handful of really great people I now consider friends. How does the MasterCard commercial go? PRICELESS.

    Now if people are spending so much time surfing that they aren’t writing good content — yeah, that’s problem. I wouldn’t let it happen to me, and I don’t see that happening to the sites I enjoy reading on a regular basis.

    As for blogging on blogging, I try to avoid that, as I mentioned today when I did that myself, but sometimes there are things you want to say about BE or blogging in general — today I had four. If it were four things about the farm or about life or whatever, I might break it up into four posts and write a lot more deeply about each one, but I’m trying to write fewer posts about blogging, not more.

    The only time I ever bought credits — well, it was an experiment to see how many people I could get to click on an ad on my site. People say you can’t make money on your blog, but I’ve paid for the credits I bought — see my site and the green link for more, I won’t make you look at an ad right here!!

    You might not have noticed that the rating system has changed, at least in one way I’ve noticed. It used to be when you clicked on someone’s site too often it said “you already rated this site within the past 7 days” but not it just says “you have already rated this site” which makes me think you don’t get to rate anyone twice, ever, which I don’t like. I wish you could go back and update your rating in case the content improves or the person cancels their membership in the nazi party.

    You know what? I think BE is about life. And I don’t mean for this to be a personal remark about you. The point is that eventually you grow up. You stop caring about stats and realize you’ve got a few people that found you through BE but are coming back on their own day in and day out and those are the people you write for. I write for myself, of course, but I mean as an audience, that’s my audience. It’s just a few people but I care about them and I read them and they read me and that’s how I’ve matured in my BE-life.

    I have to disagree with one thing you said. I tried finding blogs with google, I really did. In fact, the lower half of my blogroll is sites I found that way. I never ever, not once connected with another blogger that way. Through BE, I’ve made friends of other bloggers, and I’ve gained readers who are other bloggers. For me, it’s not about exchanging links, which I have done, it’s about having readers I care about writing for. And BE has done that for me.

    I don’t think I’ve ever left a comment this long on anyone’s site and I apologize for taking up so much of your space. I have issues with some things on BE like banners and I’ve already mentioned the ratings system. But I like it for the people I have found and the people who have found me. It isn’t 7,000 people, nor would I want it to be. You can’t have a relationship with 7,000 people. But I’m really enjoying blogging much more with people I care about reading me every day and knowing I want to give them something they’ll enjoy reading, feeling I don’t want to let them down.

    Looks like I’m signed into blogger.com, which doesn’t make it easy for people to find where I came from. My own blog is HERE if you’re interested in checking out my blog on blogs (today, tuesday 12/7) or anything else I’ve written!

  4. From my window...
    Posted 7 December, 2004 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    i absolutely relate…
    i joined BE when it first got going. in fact, there was a time when you could surf all available blogs. i try to read as many blogs as catch my eye. but, let’s face it, the credit greed gets us all.
    does this mean we’ll eventually resort to 30 second posts? dear lord, i hope not. in any case, i’ll read yours if you read mine. (how’s that for 8 year old?)

    heather

  5. Ogre
    Posted 7 December, 2004 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    You’re right, this is good stuff. But wait, I found it by using BE. Quite a conundrum, eh?

  6. Josh
    Posted 7 December, 2004 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Sing it, brother. I think you hit the nail on the head.

    But like others, I’ve already found a few actual, quality readers who don’t even come in via BE anymore. They come directly, or from the increasing number of bloggers who’ve added me to their blogroll.

    So that’s my plan: use BE to rummage up readership, hope some of it sticks when I stop using BE. Just getting a kickstart. Kinda like ‘roids. Steroids, that is. Not hemorroids.

  7. SwissToni
    Posted 7 December, 2004 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    You know what else BE is? It’s bloody addictive. Like you say – I don’t want to criticise the 30 second surfers, because hell a lot of the time that’s all I do. Just once in a while though, you find a site that you feel the need to fire up in a new tab so that you can explore it a little more, and perhaps leave a comment.

    Like this one.

    That was a good post and it really caught my eye.

    I also agree that BE is what you make of it. Yeah, sure the quality of a lot of the blogs on there is middling at best, but as another commentator says, that’s a lot like life, isn’t it?

    As for tinkering with what you write to make it more attractive to passing BE surfers…. that’s the way to madness. It’s tempting to some extent to write to an imaginary audience, but at the end of the day you have to write for yourself and hope that other people like it.

    Mind you – saying that, have you seen the site on the BE rotation by the Vampire Hunter? I blogrolled that one…..

    ST.

  8. Technicolour Nightmare
    Posted 7 December, 2004 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Funny. I came here through BE.
    It depends on the person. I think it is a great way to find new blogs. You have the 30 seconds. If you don’t like what you read you move on. sometimes you see the same blog a second time and their writing may be more interesting so it gives you a second chance to read it. For some people it is good, it is about finding new blogs to read. For others it is to get hits. Like everything it depends on the person.

  9. Adrian
    Posted 7 December, 2004 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    I, also, found you via BlogExposion. Your writing is very readable, but more to the point – I think you are absolutely correct.

    That makes for the concerning feeling that I am wasting my time on BE, which in turn makes for a feeling of foolishness.

    Good work though. 🙂

  10. Deek Deekster
    Posted 7 December, 2004 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    thanks very much for the comments.

    “You have the 30 seconds.”

    I like that. Better than MTV then !

    or are we deducting from Warhol’s famous for 15 minutes ?

    “a feeling of foolishness”

    = gratis 🙂

  11. ~jagyd~
    Posted 8 December, 2004 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    I found you through bloglinker. 🙂

    I was warned off BE and never bothered.. well, I think I might have started to bother and then left off half way through the sign up. Seems like I didn’t miss much.. other than perhaps 7000 people hitting my site and doing me little good. 🙂

    ~j~

    http://www.jagyd.com

  12. paddalumpakins
    Posted 8 December, 2004 at 2:35 am | Permalink

    It’s interesting that on most of your other posts you have like 0 comments, but on this one, you have captified blog explosion members by a mere mention of the name, and now you’ve got a million comments. I’m blogmarking you because your blog seems consistantly well written and intelligent, but I have to come clean with the fact that I am no exception within your comments – simply use the words blog explosion (or cocksucker) and I’m gonna read it.

  13. Deek Deekster
    Posted 8 December, 2004 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    Blogsucker ?

    I get comments ! I have readers and I dialogue with them. This is certainly by far the most comments I ever got on one single post, but what you say is, wrong. You misrepresent me.

    As I said in the post, it’s quality of readership not quantity that’s important here..

    D.

  14. Laurie
    Posted 8 December, 2004 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    The optimist in me thinks that, in the beginning, people click through Blog Explosion just to get the credits and then when they accidentally stumble upon a pearl among the stones, they stop and actually read. That’s where the addiction began for me. I don’t even care about the credits anymore. I go back for the wonderful surprise of the occasional entertaining writer.

    By the way, my least favorite blog is the happily married Americans. Hubby this, hubby that…Gag!

  15. melinama
    Posted 5 February, 2005 at 1:51 am | Permalink

    Great article, well written. Here’s mine: Poets, bloggers, and reading to an empty room. I know most of the people who come via BE are “clicking through” but that’s ok cause most people in the WORLD are not my kind of people (mommy bloggers, cat bloggers, christian right wingers).

    I like reading blogs randomly. Serendipity happens. So, before BE I used to hit “next blog” on blogspot, but kept running into people’s evil java scripts – thankfully, on BE that doesn’t happen.

    Every once in a while somebody comes along via BE and leaves an appreciative comment. They would probably not have found me without BE. So I will try to avoid being mesmerized into clicking all night, but I feel I’m getting a fair shake.

  16. Chern Jie
    Posted 16 February, 2005 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Hahaha, well written. I’ve linked this post to my blog.

  17. Martin Burch
    Posted 12 June, 2005 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    I dunno, a little blog explosion, a little blogging, just so long as you keep it in perspective.

  18. gnarlykitty
    Posted 31 January, 2006 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    somehow i still question how BE works.. do people even see ur site at all or does BE just put traffic on ur sitemeter. do u think its possible that one credit means one visit and im not saying that its a visit from a real blog reader sitting in front of his/her computer. just a visit. i don’t know.. maybe im crazy.

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