Monday, September 20, 2010

Are some of us lacking a point of view?

How many blogs do you have in your Google Reader? Is it overwhelming you at times, as mine is?

254 blogs. I think I need an intervention.

My Google Reader is overflowing. I was on the road for about ten days and didn't have much time for blogging or blog reading. When I came home, I took a look at the number of unread items in my blog reader and hit the "mark all as read" button without much thought and then visited a handful of blogs that I feel connected to so I could read what specific "blog friends" had done while I was away.

A year ago, I would have carefully flipped through each item to catch up on what all of the major bloggers wrote while I was gone. I found myself wondering why it was so easy to ignore all those unread blog posts. I think that it's because a good portion of the design blogsphere is lacking a point of view.

I'm not going to do extensive research, but I'm going to guess that the design blogsphere got started in 2006 or so. When I started reading the blogs in 2007, I was in awe. All of the design bloggers seemed so knowledgeable. I was constantly learning. Over time, as I added blogs to my reader, many started to blend together. There were the posts raving about the latest issue of a magazine, the raves about TV shows or movies, the raves about the newest catalog, raves about the newest line of items to arrive at a store, raves about a designer's was a whole lot of raving. It got hard to distinguish the voices when everyone was getting excited over the same things.

Now that I think about it, I don't think snarky blogs became popular because people want to be mean. I think many of us are craving any sort of point of view. Perhaps just as film fans ignore the critics who wrote positive reviews of every film, I should be ignoring the design bloggers who rave about everything. Just as it would be foolish to see a movie solely based on the positive review of one of those critics, it would be foolish to buy a product or magazine based solely on the positive review of a design blogger that seems to lack critical thinking skills.

If you're reading this, I doubt you're one of the bloggers about which I'm writing. I just wanted to share what's been on my mind. I've tweeted about this here and there and some of you have written back that you've done some unsubscribing, too.

Sorry for starting the week on a serious note. Writing this out has also got me thinking about how I blog. I have come to realize that posting good entries whenever they happen to come to me is far better than feeling pressured to post something each day. I don't have to maintain the same pace as bloggers who have made jobs out of their blogs. We are in different lanes and I should give myself permission to cruise in the right lane as they speed by in the left.
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  2. I totally agree and couldn't have said it better! I am becoming a more discerning blog reader and find myself drawn to smaller blogs with original content, even if they only post 1-3 times a week.

  3. I am getting sick of all the design bloggers posting photos from magazines (online and paper) as soon as they arrive. I just ignore all the blogs now when I know my House Beautiful is about to arrive or Lonny is about to come out, b/c I'm sick of everyone posting all the pretty pictures, like they are the only ones who have seen it!

  4. I don't have a "point of view" per se but I'm also not really aspiring to do more with my blog than entertain myself.

    I do hate the flood of online postings after Lonny's (or whatever's new in the design world) out or whatever because it's all the same comments over and over. I much prefer DIY, how to get it done cheap, unusual inspiration, practical ideas rather than fawning all over products and fancy decor mags.

  5. I can relate. I follow a ton of blogs too, and I just got back from vacation and there is no way I can catch up. I also have a full time job, so I can't post like other people can, and I'm okay with that (although, I've been really bad lately about posting...). I'm going to try and post more, but with more original content.

    I think my problem is that even though a lot of blogs cover similar topics, I think the people behind the blogs are all so nice and I want to support them. But, there's only so much time in the day. If you come up with a solution, let me know!

  6. Agreed. The design blogosphere is definitely lacking POV, overall. There is an excessively coffee klatch atmosphere, with a bunch of gals pouring over the same mags and blogs again and again and a 'If you can't say anything nice, don't say it at all!' kind of attitude. That's why I love blogs like If The Lampshade Fits, which dare to disagree. I don't mind that sites recycle images but I really want original content or at least new analysis of what's in, say, the new Lonny.

  7. As a newish blogger I will freely admit that I am still trying to find my voice. It is incredibly hard to churn out new content every day. I feel fortunate if I can get something posted 2-3 times a week. I also feel this incredible pressure that it is not enough. Thanks for your prospective of fewer posts, better content. I'm still trying to find the balance of doing things right and posting just to keep things fresh.

  8. Wow, thanks for posting this. I feel the same way- I just can't keep up with my Reader so I find myself skipping a lot of them, unless I'm really bored. I also really appreciate what Alexis said about the 'If you can't say anything nice, don't say it at all!' attitude- sometimes blogs can feel pretty (gasp!) fake and I feel like people just post comments out of habit and not because they have any real insight (myself included). That being said, as a blogger, have to admit that I love getting comments and I'll pretty much take what I can get! Except spam.

  9. I've noticed the same thing, you just get burned out on some blogs because they lack a great voice and originality. There are certain ones in my reader that I usually just skim on over.

  10. I usually go through my blogs list that I follow every week if I don't read it enough I delete it.I have a crude sense of humor so for me it's hard finding people that don't mind a few curse words and crude humor in my blog, not easy findind the right crowd who wont get offended.

  11. Amen! I do like occasionally getting a peek at new product lines (because I don't watch much tv and I miss ads, or because I don't get out to stores much), but then it becomes old, QUICK. Same with Lonny, same with trends.

    I also like to see occasional inspirational images, but only if they relate to that blogger's current projects. Otherwise, I skim over it.

    I think this is one reason I follow Lauren @ Pure Style - because she is a pro designer who does her own thing in her own style. Just a random example.

  12. Sounds like you said what a lot of people are thinking! Good for you! I often remind myself as well that my blog should be about the content, not how many people are reading it! It is easy to get caught up in the excitement! Keep up the good blog-ing!

  13. Amen, Jeannine. I've slowly been whittling down my Reader so it's not so overwhelming when I've had a busy work week and no time to catch up...I get so tired of everything you mentioned! I'd much rather read one post a week from someone who really put some thought and effort into a post than just post random inspiration pictures. I've given up thinking I can do a post a day because I'm just too busy and my creativity only comes in bursts! Thanks for affirming me :)

  14. I do not have a blog but I am an avid reader. Thank you so much for stating what has been on my mind. I just unsubscribed to a (very successful) blog that I followed religiously because most of their posts appear to be space fillers. They do two postings a day and I used to look avidly to reading them but now I yawn when I read them.
    I agree with in the tweeds as I would rather read one meaningful post weekly than space fillers daily.

  15. Hm...Pappel, I know exactly the blog your referencing and have felt the same way. Perhaps the increase in ads on blogs and the pressure some feel to turn a profit is influencing them.

  16. Thank you for posting this. I feel like you have read my mind. I am new to blogging (publicly at least) but have been stalking a few blogs for a while. Although I am STILL trying to find my voice with my blog, I avoid regurgitating what I see on the blogs I follow. When I see an image that I like, I simply file it (mentally or literally). No need to share what seems over shared already. I agree with In the Tweeds and pappel, one meaningful post that has more thought and effort is more useful to me as a reader/stalker/follower.

  17. I definitely agree. The thrill I used to get when reading blogs has been slowly going away, mostly because of the overall lack of originality. Lately I've been focused on reading blogs that feel more personal and that truly make me feel inspired after reading them (which comprise maybe 50% of the blogs on my Reader...)

  18. I love looking at pictures on blogs...original pictures of projects bloggers have done themselves or of items they've stumbled upon at boutique stores, yard sales, flea markets etc.

    Multiple bloggers regurgitating the same articles and photos from online magazines/websites and actual subscription magazines the day they're received in the mail, well that's kinda lame.

    I've even seen blogs where someone has posted pictures they took at Target of new seasonal stuff on the shelves. Really? Target? Don't get me wrong, I love shopping at Target, but do you need to post photos of every new hot pink item they're stocking the shelves with for summer? How about buying an item, incorporating it into your home and THEN take a picture.

    With that said, if someone's creating a mood board and adding photos of individual elements from Ikea, Target, Pier One, Crate & Barrel or any other store that 98% of Americans can visit in person...I think I'm okay with that. Just don't act like you've stumbled across the holy grail of area rugs when you're posting a picture of a cow hide rug available right now at Ikea. Hahaha.

    And on a slightly different note, I also find bloggers who are creating posts about coupons/sales for something like 30% off at Ann Taylor (as if they were given a super exclusive inside scoop to a sale) to be VERY lame when I've already received the same promo email from Anne Taylor three times that week! Compare that to you (you Jeannine!) blogging about the J. Crew regional warehouse sale, now that's a nice treat. That's something unique to your area that a reader might actually take a special road trip for. :)

  19. I only read a few blogs, friends blogs I read almost everything they post (like yours) other blogs I only read when they do a craft or a home improvement. I don't follow any blogs of people I don't know who post about designing etc.

  20. i guesss more and more people are culling their blog following.
    i noticed over the weekend my followers dropped by 2.
    i try very hard to find unique pictures/content and say what i like or don't like about a design aspect.
    honestly, i find myself getting much too wrapped up in how many comments i get per post. it's silly, really. maybe i need a new hobby!!

  21. I read your comment on MoS, so I had to come over and take a look at your post. :)

    It seems to me that there are as many different types of bloggers as there are types of blog readers. If readers are into heavy analysis, then they should be choosy with the blogs that they follow instead of following every blog and expecting each to deliver content that satisfies their taste. I am sure there are just as many who enjoy looking at inspirational picture posts purely for the enjoyment of eye candy.

    It seems like what is being forgotten here is that bloggers have varying intent, levels of interest and ability, time to devote to their habit, etc. and that all contributes to the outcome of the finished product. To me, an "I post eye candy" blog does have an (aesthetic) point of view, a focus and a purpose. It just will not match all readers' needs. And that's okay. My two cents. :)

  22. I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment, and am so glad you got it "off your chest," as I think many of us feel the same way. Case in point: all these comments!
    The race to find unique sources of content or inspiration is increasingly fierce, and I admit it gets me down when I feel so uninspired, and unable to post anything worth reading.
    I'm with ya in the "slow lane," and that's OK by me!

  23. I totally agree... I struggle with how to not be boring while still being myself on my blog. I try to be honest about my failures as well as my successes and to use my own voice, not a manufactured super-sacchrine one.

    And I try to create content rather than gather it. Thats the hard part.

  24. I can't handle the 3+/day posters! With them, I "mark as read" or "unsubscribe" with no remorse... BUT I feel bad because I can't even keep up with the smaller blogs I do like :(. I've made an attempt by creating folders for Mon, Tues, Wed, etc and trying to catch up with a few at a time.

  25. Amen sista! Couldn't have written it better myself! I'm drastically culling down my reader - I play a game that if I can't identify the name of the blog by the post I'm reading or image selection it means the POV is worthless (to me, to each his own) and unsubscribe I go. Kudos to you for having a voice and making it heard.

    Also, we really need to work on this whole blog BFF thingy. ; )


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