Friday, 15 April 2011

Blog standard

If this was an old school roleplaying blog, Trey's famous and fun advancement table at From the Sorcerer's Skull would mean I'd just levelled up, going from Maven to Pundit, at 160 followers.

Thanks very much to all of you, and to everyone who reads.

But it's not really an old school roleplaying blog, or at least not primarily. It's not a wargaming blog either, although it covers aspects of that. It's not even only a gaming blog. If it had a focus, I'd say it's fiction, or exploration of ideas. Speculation maybe.

In this sense, the number to look at seems less the number of followers and more the number of follows, or blogs in blogrolls.

Here are those numbers then.

I follow 304 blogs. In that light, especially given the common but rather silly idea that if someone follows you ought to follow them, having 160 followers actually makes me look fairly unpopular.

There are eight blogrolls in the left sidebar, although one is a collection of blogs from the other seven. In the seven the total number of blogs is 340. Again, Porky no-mates.

This means the ratio of blogs followed or listed to followers is about 2:1. I'm guessing this is quite high, but I don't think it really should be. After all, why not 3:1 or 10:1?

The big question is whether or not I can read them all. If each blog posted once a day, the answer would be 'no way'. But they don't of course. Some post every few days, or even every few weeks. I try to read all or most as they update, even if in some cases it's just a skimming for the gist or the key ideas.

Anyway, an open question. Should we be hooking up more? Getting out there and seeing new things, supporting fresh takes? Should we all be trying to raise our ratios?

I'm not talking about promoting new blogs. I have the PROTOSTARS! series and Tim at Gothridge Manor has just put up his latest Newbie Blogger Award, which if I remember rightly was actually inspired by the number of awards The Happy Whisk got from writer blogs. The Angry Lurker got one today. There's no need to stretch to any of that, and most blogs do link to key posts as they find them. I'm only really talking about a minute or two to click a title you've never clicked before, and if you like it, to add it to your roll.

Yesterday I found Dice Like Dave, a blog with less than 10 followers full of reports on various wargames. Yesterday too I found Inquisitork, a blog with less than 20 followers full of sci-fi tie-in fiction. I had a lot of fun catching up on them, and I'd bet some of you would, so they're in the rolls. But they're about six months old. How do we not notice?

Maybe we're too comfortable in our own space of ideas?

Should we go on more missions to explore strange new worlds, seek out new ideas and new intepretations? Bloggers blogging what no one has blogged before? Think what breakthroughs could be waiting undiscovered in some dim, unvisited corner of the net.

What if the blogger deletes it before we find it?


NetherWerks said...

We dropped the Old School Level-thing because we wanted to clean-up our blog's cluttered right-hand column. A few other things were also chucked out. Some will come back, some are going into specific posts, and others are floating off in the indeterminate ether.

Followers are nice, and we follow quite a few blogs, but we prefer readers, thoughtful commenters and subscribers, to followers. A lot of followers don't always read all of the blogs that they follow. It gets tough to keep track of hundreds of different blogs and still get anything done. So we tend to take a more asynchronous approach to our blogs--they do not need to be read in any particular order and we provide Index Posts/Pages to help readers find what they are interested in without having to wade through a lot of crap they aren't so interested in. We want our readers to have a worthwhile experience when they read our blogs. We want to attract and to retain people who actually read our stuff.

We have this in common. This desire to provide something of substance, to aim for quality, and to foster a sense of welcome-ness, positive-ness and with luck some spark of creativity and imagination that people can take away like a smoldering stick they can use to go light their own fires.

Thanks for breaking down invisible non-walls and crashing the ponderous expectations of prematurely closed minds. You're doing a great job getting previously unthinkable dialogues opened up, exposing your readers to fresh ideas, and getting us all out of comfortable ruts into new grooves. Keep up the great work. We're reading your stuff. And it's good stuff.

Bix said...

Sage like words once again Porky, I'm packing my tricorder and heading for the transporter room right away.

Though you can keep that red jumper, I plan on coming back ;)

Von said...

I am always slightly jealous of you, Porky, largely because you've achieved something like what I want to do with GAME OVER in transcending boundaries between types of gaming. Of course, it would help my quest if I blogged about roleplaying more than once in a blue moon, or indeed did any roleplaying more than once in a blue moon, so I might be bringing it upon myself. I'm not sure.

Porky said...

@ NetherWerks - Well I couldn't do any of that if I didn't have the clear models in people like you, and the wonderful readers and commenters there are here. There's a mission:

"to provide something of substance, to aim for quality, and to foster a sense of welcome-ness, positive-ness and with luck some spark of creativity and imagination that people can take away like a smoldering stick they can use to go light their own fires. ... breaking down invisible non-walls and crashing the ponderous expectations of prematurely closed minds ... getting previously unthinkable dialogues opened up, exposing ... readers to fresh ideas, and getting us all out of comfortable ruts into new grooves."

I don't know if I'm doing them, but let's all of us try!

@ Bix - No need for phasers, even on stun, and while the prime directive may be useful, don't let anything stop you getting friendly with the natives. Energise!

@ Von - You do transcend the boundaries. When I think of GAME OVER, I see that bridge. It's only quality, always insightful and the learning feeds in too. You had those thoughts on Advanced Fighting Fantasy a little while back, game design not so long ago and just look at the latest post.

In fact, everyone reading this, especially if you have an interest in gaming and 40K, look at that latest post. That's blogging.

The Happy Whisk said...

Congrats on leveling up, Porky. Well done.

The Happy Whisk said...

PS: That's a lot of blogs to follow. Do you get to read them all?

PPS: Word Verification is readisha.

Porky said...

Thanks - you must be getting close to the edge of that table now..!

I try to read them as they update, and I probably get most, but if there's more than one post on a single day, I might miss something. Maybe I'm too sure? It is a huge number. Many update only every few days, or even less often, so that helps, and I skim for the key points when time is tight. I am getting very close to the limit though. Time for a new head.

Re Von's blog, that's not the latest post any more. The new latest is here, and it only makes more clear just how good a blog it is.

The Happy Whisk said...

That is a lot of blogs for you to read. Whew.

At one point I followed more blogs but it wasn't fun trying to read them all. So I slimmed down my list, plus removed the dead blogs and now it's easier to get to know a solid core of bloggers. And I like that. This blogging thing is fun. Only been at it six months, but I'm rather enjoying it.

christian said...

Congrats on the level up! I appreciate the varied content here. It's nice to be flexible.

Porky said...

@ The Happy Whisk - It's a lot of fun, and blogs like yours - and bloggers like you - make it even funner.

@ christian - Thanks on both counts! You're pretty flexible yourself, though I'd be feeling quite stiff if I was doing all the physical work you are!

Dave G _ Nplusplus said...

There's a few ways to discover new blogs - I'd say a combination between the new blog authors and existing blogs.

There's a number of blogs, including mine, that do some form of weekly or monthly roundup of cool links. New bloggers should approach these people, or any other larger and well read site and simply ask for some publicity. I've seen a bunch of sites plug new bloggers, which is the best way to get your name out there.

I've discovered that through Twitter, following existing users makes them aware of your presence, and I'll usually at least look at a link from a new follower.

Porky said...

Sound advice. I'd go as far as encouraging every blogger to start up that kind of summary.

As for requests, a blogger taking the chance to point out what he or she is doing and letting the quality speak for itself is hard to argue with.