And For My Next Decade…

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This week marks 10 years since I started my first public, somewhat disjointed, totally photograph-free, poorly written blog.

I know, I’m amazed, too.

You’d think that I’d have some pithy, inspirational conclusions gleaned from my experiences along the way, but I don’t.

No, the best that I can tell you is that keeping a personal blog is lots of planning and work, some fun– and a damned good way to find out who is really on your side.

Which, for me, has been enough.  So far.

But today I find myself contemplating my blogging future, knowing way too much about how wrong things can go, and trying to decide what to do next.

To wit, here are the questions that have rattled around inside my brain during this auspicious week.

•  Do I continue doing the same things here on this blog– keeping it personal and light just like I have been for the last 3 years?

•  Do I change this blog into something more opinionated, rather like a newspaper column with an agenda to promote?  Or a niche blog devoted to one specific topic?  And if so, what would that agenda/niche be?

•  Do I start a different, private blog in which I tell more of my story to a select few people who I know will support me?  And if so, what does that get me?

•  Do I give up on blogging entirely and just walk away from it?

I have no definite answer here.  

But I suspect that you, my gentle readers, have suggestions about what I should do next concerning this blog, my blogging career, all things bloggy.

Heaven knows that you always have something to say!  And I am grateful for that.  😉

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

36 thoughts on “And For My Next Decade…”

  1. I vote that you continue the blog just as you’ve been doing it these past few years. I love reading it and the different perspectives that you have on many subjects are intriguing. I usually get a good belly laugh:) Keep it up!!

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    1. Beth, okay… but if I continue along this path how do I get more readers and commenters?

      No matter how many comments that I leave on other people’s blogs and/or how many people in real life that I tell about this blog, I find that my readership declines every month.

      Considering the amount of thought + effort + heart that I put into The Spectacled Bean, I want more. And that is the problem.

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      1. “…but if I continue along this path how do I get more readers and commenters?”
        That is the big question, isn’t it? I struggle with this, too, as do others of us. For me, I have decided that I am keeping my blog for me, as a scrapbook of sorts, and it’s an added bonus to get positive reinforcement from others. But I still…crave?…new readers and new connections. I’m not really sure how to get them. Then again, I’m not sure it’s what I really need or want. (There is something to be said for connecting with a fairly small number of people, especially when you value those individual connections. There is also something to be said for flying under the radar. It’s not pretty when the trolls come out.)

        For what it’s worth, I enjoy your blog and your blogging style as they are. I like your voice and your perspective, and I would miss it if you went away. (Indeed, I *did* miss it when you went away, if you may recall!)

        I find I have lots of thoughts on this topic, but need to get to doing some work.

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        1. alejna, you bring up good points about flying under the radar and knowing your followers. I’ve been in the blogging spotlight before, which lead to some sad consequences with trolls and thieves.

          It’s not that I want to be popular per se, it’s that I want more connections here. And I realize that is never going to happen until I hit upon a way to write posts that resonate with more readers… or find a better way to promote this blog… or become Lord Queen of the Known Universe and force everyone to read what I write! 😉

          Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it.

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      2. I think you keep this blog, because it’s so good, but maybe start a second one for the “heavier” topics. Maybe you wouldn’t write that one as often, maybe just when you feel particularly inspired, but you would attract a different type of audience. I’d like to see you gather a lot of your blogs into a ‘best of” compilation — hard copy.

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        1. Sherry, if I ever did a second blog I’d do it exactly how you’ve described it here. I have no doubt that my “deeper thoughts” + childhood experiences would be of interest to a much different crowd than the delightful one that shows up here.

          [Thanks for stopping by to comment. Sorry you got held up in moderation for so long. Looking forward to seeing you soon.]

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    1. Zazzy, I gotta laugh. I’d forgotten that you just redid your whole blogging paradigm. You have made a decision. Me? Not so much.

      My difficulty is that for me to have joy I need conversation. In fact, at this point the main reason that I keep this blog is to start conversations.

      I’m way past writing about my life so that I can find myself. I’m found, thank you very much. Now talk to me. 😉

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  2. Pretty impressive… years done and managing to weather all sorts of blog storms, no doubt.
    (I think all blogs’ stats are down due to some changes by Google and many using “private” browsing…and many people just are reading and not clicking in to engage… it is unsettling, though)
    Lord Queen of the Known Universe – those who need to know do and devotedly follow!
    Always a good read here (and photo free is such a wise idea!)

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    1. philmouse, interesting observation about Google changes. No doubt The Google has something to do with my reader stats. How could it not, it is everywhere?

      And thank you for the words of encouragement. The Lord Queen of the Known Universe likes devoted followers.

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      1. It is everywhere – WP at one point even commented on their stats not being accurate anymore and weren’t sure how to adapt at that time. I don’t feel like paying for accuracy which you can do with some companies, I think. But I’ll just trudge along and be delusional more are reading

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        1. Didn’t know any of this philmouse. I won’t be paying for accuracy either. I like your delusional approach. That’s more within my blogging budget!

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    1. robin, I get bored with things– and sometimes I like to contemplate what I might do to change things up. So far everyone likes what I’m doing here, so I may stay the course with what I have going on now. Like you said, if it ain’t broke…

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  3. Unfortunately, I think blog readership will continue to decline, and that has little to do with the quality of the blogging/writing/content and everything to do with how the Power of the Internet have reconstructed things to relegate blogs to the hinterlands. Over the course of my own time with my blog, I’ve seen readership spike and plummet and Facebook and Google reengineer their sites to make money. I pivot, and four or five months later, they do it again. I finally decided to just do what makes me happy, because chasing numbers (without paying) will frustrate me every time. I don’t know if there’s good advice for you somewhere, but I hope there is.

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    1. Andra, I agree with you that blogging is in a decline. I think that reality has me down as much as anything. When I started into blogging it was so new & cool; I miss the frantic, happy buzz that came along with being a blogger. That being said, I hang in here because I do like to write– and blogging is a perfect place to just do that.

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  4. I like your blog the way it is but you should do what makes you happy. As for stats, yikes! I can never figure them out. There are peaks and valleys. Sometimes I can figure it out (holidays or bad weather) and sometimes I can’t. I did find that my readership peaked after I started facebook. I don’t know why because they are the same people who follow me. Maybe people are more likely to read the post if it’s posted on facebook? When you figure it out, let us all know. I know what you mean though. After I have done something I really like (and I don’t necessarily really like all my posts) I wonder how I could get it out there broader.

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    1. kate, I’m not a fanatic about my stats. If I was, I’d have left blogging years ago. Interesting observation about FB. I’m not there, but maybe that’s the key to growing my readership.

      And I know what you mean about wanting some of my posts to go broader– not all of them mind you, but once in a while I do write something rather good [if I do say so myself]. 😉

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      1. Yes you do! Perhaps as bloggers we should recognize each other’s work on our blog. I have already seen someone with a widget that allowed her to put a picture of someone else’s post that she liked.

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        1. kate, you may be on to something there. I have the WP widget on my sidebar that shows any WP posts that I “Like.” Anything that connects us to each other is a good thing.

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  5. I’ve chatted about this tons on other blogs and on my own several times. Other venues, which I clump all together and call PinTwitFace, have undermined blogs. Let’s face it, blogs require actual reading. PinTwitFace really does not. People in general do not want to take time and devote brainwaves to reading anything of length. They want a quick hit, 140 characters or a picture as a takeaway and then they move on. And really, I don’t like the whole, “Well, people are really busy these days yada yada yada” thing, either. For five or six years, I wrote blogposts and taught highschool English and read other people’s posts. It’s a question of what you are willing to make time for. And that’s not a judgment, either. It’s what is important to you. For a lot of people, they are on PinTwitFace anyway, so that’s where they stay.

    I will continue to write over at my places because I enjoy it and I have people who read me faithfully whether they comment or not. It keeps me sharpened up. I’m not on PinTwitFace because those are not venues that appeal to me. I like to stretch out and explore what I write about.
    You should do what you want to do for yourself. Don’t be anyone’s bitch. 😉

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    1. nance, I adore the term you’ve coined: PinTwitFace is perfect. You’ve explained my frustration and dismay with the current state of blogging so well. Thank you.

      I’ll continue writing about whatever I want here, but for me the conversation is as important as the ability to express myself. And if my readership goes away, who will I be talking with?

      Just me, I suspect– and the bats in my belfry.

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  6. Yes on the first and second questions, no on the third and fourth. My opinion is based on the fact that I also have been blogging for over 10 years and have asked myself the same questions. In the end I figured out I keep a blog because I like to write but I am grateful for any reader whoshows up. Like you, McBeanny. 🙂

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    1. la p, okay then. Keep on keeping on but with a bit more attitude. Got it. Good idea really.

      I, too, am grateful when you show up here. At this point you are the person who has commented on my blogs for the longest time. Thanks. I appreciate it.

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      1. You are welcome, Ally. I still cannot wrap my mind around the fact that we have been blogging for 10 years. Aren’t blog years like dog years? If so we have slid past vintage and into ancient.

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  7. I think it would be kind of fun to have two blogs and have a different focus on the other one. However, we have become a quick and easy society so Nance’s PinTwitFace made me howl with laughter, but also feel sad. I love the conversations, but also enjoy writing and re-reading my past thoughts and experiences; for me it’s an interactive diary. I also enjoy Facebook, although I’m Margaret Lite over there. And I constantly get myself in trouble over my fact checking and calling people out over their stupid claims, like that asparagus cures cancer, as well as other IDIOCIES. *sigh*

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    1. Margaret, two blogs might be the solution, but think of the work involved! Don’t know if I’m up for that right now. Maybe in the fall when I’ve had some time to play outside during the spring and summer?

      I’m not on FB at the moment, but I can only imagine that the stupidity that you encounter would come my way too. Again, don’t know if I’m up for that right now.

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  8. I like the lighthearted blog you have now, but would maybe feel more engaged by something meaty like opinions. I love that kind of thing. If you do start a separate blog, please do let me know. Personally, I keep it all in one place, and sometimes it’s one thing, other times another. But I’ve never had as many comments as you have, and I never will, so maybe take that as a warning!

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    1. J, it’s interesting to me that the commenters who have known me the longest want me to start having more opinions, sharing details of how I became who I am.

      It’s encouraging, but a bit frightening. And if I do start writing that way, either here or on another blog, I’ll want to be clear in my mind what I’m up to.

      Food for thought– all of this.

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