Friday, 4 December 2015

30 Things I learned from leaving 300 blog comments in 30 days

Hello hello.

When I set myself the challenge to leave 300 genuine blog comments over 30 days [across Sept/Oct 2015] my motivations included:
  • to stop pitying myself for receiving relatively few comments [i.e: single figures per post];
  • to maintain the relationships I had within my regular blogging network;
  • and - primarily - to reach out from the safety of that network to make new connections in the blogging world.
When those 30 days and 300 comments were over [OK, I’ll be honest … I actually only managed 270 …] I realised that, alongside achieving the things I’d set out to … I’d picked up all kinds of random insights into blogging in general along the way.

What had begun as an impromptu challenge had subsequently grown into a month’s worth of solid, focused, yet entirely accidental market research into blogging.

Like so much in life, this ‘research’ was actually just a bi-product, something that really only came along for the ride, while I’d set myself a task to do something else. Carving out dedicated ‘research’ time 5 days a week for four weeks is just not something I would ever have deliberately scheduled in. But ... tempt me with a silly project that I can create a hashtag for and get other people involved in? Well hey hey good looking, count me in!

Perhaps there is already a lesson for me to learn in that fact alone …

[If you’re new here then my introductory post to the #300in30days challenge will explain more as will this glimpse at the statistics I racked up during the challenge.]

Many of the things I learned won’t really be of use to anyone but me ... so I won't share those here. [Although I might save them up for a very solipsistic post of their own some time!].

But many of my ‘lessons learned’ will be useful to you ... 
  • if you're nosey. Are you? Yeah, me too. Read on for more peeks inside Blogland.
  • if you are planning to take part in the 300 in 30 Days challenge:-  I know it’s a big task but … it's still worth attempting as there’s no way you can avoid learning something from the experience,[even if that ‘something’ is: ‘I can’t do it for 30 days’ or 'I can't make it to 300'!]. And many of those lessons will come in useful for your own blogging. 
  • OR if you’re a blogger who - over the years - has become comfortable in their niche, with their regular network, and has started to wonder what else is out there?:-  After you've completed the challenge you'll know what's out there [for good or bad!].
  • OR if you’re someone who enjoys reading blogs and would like ideas on how to find new places to visit.
So ... here are the 30 lessons I learned while leaving 300 blog comments in 30 days ....

Part One: The 'Practical / Technical' Lessons

Lesson 1: 300 is a lot.
In fact if you're honest with yourself it's approximately 200 more than you expected it to be.

When I broke it down [as did many people who supported me over the course of the challenge did - to boost my morale!] 300 comments over 30 days sounded doable because that’s just 10 a day … just  10. 10's a relatively manageable number isn't it? Isn't it? And yet …

Lesson 2: 'Just 10 a day' is relative.
10 comments a day about The British Weather? Easy. Just show me the stranger I need to make awkward non-personal conversation with and I'll rack up that 10 without breaking a sweat.

10 things tidied away / sorted / discarded / deleted from my Inbox a day? Mmmm ... a bit trickier ... would probably take more thought, I'd need to assess each item, double-check it wouldn't 'come in handy' at a later date .. but ... yeah .. I think I could give it a good try.

But leaving 10 blog comments a day is harder still. Maybe not for one single day. But for 30 in a row? That's when you start to meet problems.

Lesson 3: Woe betide you if you take weekends off!
If, like me, you give yourself a break from leaving blog comments on a weekend [until the last weekend when you're frantically trying - and failing - to reach the 300 goal!]  ... just remember this ... if you don't leave the requisite 10 comments on Saturday and Sunday ... come Monday you'll have to leave 30 if you're going to stay on track!

Lesson 4: You have to read a blog post before you can comment on it.
It might just have slipped your mind that in order to leave a a coherent comment on it you actually have to read the post first, so let me remind you ...

You have to read the post first! Why didn't anyone warn me how much extra time that would add to the idea of 'just 10 a day'? 

Consider yourself warned ... but don't be put off. Reading the posts really is where the magic happens ... that's where you'll discover if the blogger you've found is someone you'll want to come back and read more from in the future.

Lesson 5: You might not have enough blogs readily on hand to meet the 10 a day goal.  
Wherever it is you store the list of blogs you read [I use Feedly] it's going to have to be populated with enough new content each day ... at least 10 posts ... for you to be able to leave 10 comments.

Failing that you'll have to dip into the archives and read older posts OR find new blogs.

I learned that I had relatively little new content coming in to Feedly each day. Or at least ... not content that I felt I could comment on. Which led me to my next lesson ...

Lesson 6: Your blog-reader needs updating from time to time.
How often do you see a new post pop up in your reader and you just scroll past it without even bothering to read it, let alone to click on it to read the full post and then take time to leave a comment afterwards?

During the 30 day challenge I started editing my reader and deleting subscriptions to blogs which no longer grabbed my attention. I need to do this more often. If I'm not going to read the posts why do I need to know they exist? Anything else is just white noise, too much information.

Ironically I learned that while I needed to read MORE blogs [to reach my commenting target and to widen my network] I also needed to weed out ones that no longer suited me.

Lesson 7: Logging into and remembering usernames for several accounts in order to leave comments across the various blogging platforms is one of the dullest activities known to man. 

And - after we all threw in our opinions on the 3 main categories of commenting difficulties here - we all know that that single fact contributes vastly to the reduction in commenting / community many of us have felt over recent years.

So ... we know this. But what can we do about it? To paraphrase Tolkien we need one log-in ... to rule them all.

Lesson 8:  'Approval' settings on comments are surprisingly widespread.
Which came as a surprise to me. I've never had to resort to using the pre-approval setting so I was quite intrigued as to why so many people have.

There are either some unfortunate people out there who receive nasty, inappropriate, unpublishable comments and therefore need to preview all comments before approving them for publication. Or else there are a lot of people out there who are concerned that they’re going to receive nasty, inappropriate, unpublishable comments at some point in the future.

Lesson 9: Lots of blogs don’t have any / many comments.
It’s not just mine. Hurrah

It looks to me like there are some bloggers who haven't set out to blog for the community aspect therefore they don’t court comments. Perhaps they're writing more opinion pieces, where they don't want to get into a debate, or else they're more commercial and therefore want to focus on putting content out there ... rather than receive any. Or maybe they're just connecting with readers on other platforms.

I came across some beautiful, well written posts that didn't have a ravenous commenting hoard murmuring away beneath them ... and it helped lighten my concerns about my own content-to-comment ratio!

Lesson 10: If you’re seeking out new blog content then Twitter hash tags are a great way to narrow it down.
Apart from being somewhere you can put content into the world [by tweeting about what your postman just did and what you overheard in the library, just me?] Twitter is also a fantastic place to source information; including where to find new-to-you bloggers.

There's a world of bloggers who are tagging links to their blog using specific searchable hashtags # - meaning when anyone searches for that tag, or clicks on one, their tweet will appear in the list.

Here are some examples of the #s I came across during this challenge ...
  • #Lboggers = lifestyle
  • #Fbloggers = food
  • #Studentbloggers = students
  • #Bbloggers = beauty
  • 30plusbloggers = bloggers over 30
  • 40plusbloggers = bloggers over 40
  • Edited to add ... Deb ... I found 50plusbloggers too! The possibilities are endless ... I'm sure there are more!
Note: Finding these last two in particular made me very happy indeed.

The main demographic of bloggers who know all about how best to hashtag their posts is generally young; teens and twenty-somethings. And quite frankly I spent a good proportion of the 300in30days challenge reading their posts, not connecting with their content in any real way, and feeling really old in comparison.

So when I learned there were communities of older [ie. my age] bloggers out there ... it came as a relief ... and it gave me some new places to visit.

But if you don't fancy narrowing down your blog reading by age how about by location?

Lesson 11:  Twitter hashtags can also help you find bloggers in your local area. 
Want to know what bloggers in your area are doing ? Want to read reviews of places to visit, events, etc in a nearby town? Want to maybe attend local blogger meet-ups with real fleshy people? Then use a # to search for local bloggers.

If a blogger has tagged their tweet with a regional and local # you can find it by searching for that particular # in the search box at the top.
  • For example: I've discovered that bloggers from North East England tag their tweets with #NEbloggers [so I've been using it to, when writing about local events]:
  • Also if I search for the same hashtag in the search box I get a list of tweets by people who've used the tag and who, in all likelihood have blogged about places I have some chance of visiting.
  • [I know there's a place for mooning over exotic travel blogs ... but if I'm looking for a nice place to spend a Saturday afternoon then somewhere 40 miles up the A19 is far more realistic].
I can't say for certain but there's surely an equivalent for wherever you live.

If you get stuck ... try finding something like your local paper / library / gallery / tourist association on Twitter first ... and look to see what phrase they are using to tag their posts.  

But, before you disappear head first down the hashtag rabbit hole ... know this ...

Lesson 12: While searching via hashtags will absolutely help narrow down the field a little … it’s certainly no mark of quality!
Just because someone is social-media savvy and knows a hashtag from a handsaw ... it doesn't mean that the post they're linking you to will actually be worth reading!!

After spending 30 days following such links ... and despairing ... you'll know what I mean.

Lesson 13: Before writing anyone off as an good-for-nothing-ignorant-non-replier …just check back to see if they have replied.
I, perhaps naively, thought that more people would visit my blog after I'd visited theirs. But, of course, they don't. [Well, just a few did].

And it shouldn't be surprising ... we're all trying to build up our own space as the place to be ... so, naturally, if we can reply in our own comments section, we do.

I found myself re-visiting a few blogs to see if they'd responded to my comment and many had - beneath my original comment.

I know it takes time, and memory, to go back for a re-visit ... but if you're seeking to nurture new online connections ... it's the only way.

And fortunately ... unlike the difficulties we all have logging in ... some of the platforms make it easier for us to read replies to our comments ...

Lesson 14: It's easy to find replies if you commented using the Disqus app. 
If you logged into the Disqus app with your Google account then replies will be sent to your gmail. How simple's that?

Alternatively, if you see the Disqus panel on any other blog you’re commenting on, and you're still logged into Disqus, just click your profile pic in the comment box and your commenting history, plus any replies you've received will show up!

Lesson 15: There's something similar in Wordpress too.
If you're logged into your Wordpress account you’ll see a speech bubble box in the top right of your own blog or of any Wordpress blog you visit. [Or at least that's what I see when using a Windows laptop].

Simply click that speech bubble box and all your latest notifications will be there [just like on Facebook].

If only there was something like this available on Blogger ... which so many of us use!!! If you know of something similar to this on Blogger that I've missed ... or any kind of method which notifies you of replies that I haven't mentioned .... do do do let us all know in a comment today! Thanks!!

Part Two: The 'Style / Content' Lessons

Lesson 16: There's an epidemic of  fuzzy photos on blogs.
I'm not being judgemental [or, come to think of it ... maybe I am] but in my efforts to find lots of new blogs to comment on I also observed that people were using quite a few fuzzy, blurry and out of focus shots.

I'm not talking here about arty farty 'bokeh' techniques, or playing with Depth of Field ... just generally blurry. Maybe they're phone uploads? After all ... as I've learned from my own experience, what looks crystal clear on a 3" screen leaves something to be desired when stretched across a 14" one.

Just an observation ...

Lesson 17: I prefer reading posts that have their layout broken up in some way. 
I’m a skimmer. No two ways about it.

And if there's a page of dense text resembling the North face of the Eiger ... then I'm already feeling exhausted before I reach Base Camp; so I'm not really inclined to then strap on my crampons to scale it.

I'd much rather spend time on the grassy slopes of a post broken up with photos, line breaks and bullet points … so it's definitely something I try to do on my own blog.
  • Look ... I'm bullet pointing right now. 
  • And now. 
But this next lesson in style is a tough, tough one for me to have learned ... 

Lesson 18: I struggle not to skim through long posts …
Yet I know I write them.

Hello. Guilty as charged.

This post is approximately 4000 words. Halfway towards a dissertation.

I haven't quite reconciled this lesson with my own blogging practice yet. It's a work in progress ... and, yes, I'm a hypocrite!

Lesson 19: There are so many sponsored posts out there!
So many.

Of course I knew that bloggers were the new ... well, everything apparently, but until I started reading more widely I had no idea sponsored posting was this widespread.

Again, another tricky one for me to reconcile ... making money through my writing is one of my ultimate life goals, but ... at the risk of burning any bridges ... I'm not sure I could bare to be told by a PR what to write about.

[A stubbornness which will come as no surprise to my parents.]

Lesson 20: Beauty posts don’t do it for me 
Just like the sponsored post prevalence, beauty posts are everywhere [in fact, the two are often linked with beauty bloggers demonstrating sponsored products]. 

Beauty bloggers are also seemingly good at the whole self-promotion / Twitter hash-tagging thing so, chances are, in your search to find new bloggers, you'll stumble across many of them. [Do be careful where you stumble ... we don't want a bullet shaped mascara wand doing you an injury ...]

Actually, I've had to change the title of this particular lesson as a few weeks ago, scribbled in my notebook, it read 'I will never ever share my beauty routine on my blog'. But that was before I landed on a way I could maybe do this* ... and kind of make someone smile and still keep my pride.

*Here's where I should say 'Coming Soon' or watch this space'. But, realistically it's more a case of 'I've added it to the ever lengthening [like so many beauty bloggers' eyelashes] topics to blog about list'. See also: outfit posts. [Which I definitely want to do more of ... sometime or other!!]

Lesson 21: ... but fashion posts do.
What can I say? I love clothes. I like looking at outfit posts. Especially the authentic ones where people have actually put clothes together from their own wardrobes or from vintage/thrift shops. Again, sponsored posts don't grab me here [or anywhere!].

Part Three: The 'Personal / Personality' Lessons
Lesson 22: When you step out of the safety of the blogging world you're familiar with ... it definitely feels like you're not in Kansas any more Toto.
I'll admit that I found it daunting to begin with.

Sometimes blog visiting can be like a chain, where you have ready made links, where you can hop between people you see commenting on the blogs of other people you know.

But when you turn up at the gates of a blog brand new to you - not one you've found through a blogger-in-common - not only do you not know anyone - you don't even know anyone who knows anyone you know!

It's a whole new world ... and it's vast ... and a little baffling.

Lesson 23:  It can transport you back to your school days [Remember those? The happiest days of your life ... apparently ...]
When you find yourself in someone else’s comments section where people are already mid-conversation, and they all seem to know one another, it can feel a little like you’re walking up to an existing friendship group and joining in the conversation without being asked.

It’s a bit like school and it could be triggering of you’ve ever had unpleasant experiences related to friendship groups at school. And which of us hasn’t experienced that particular brand of soul-crumpling? So, be careful out there, make sure you've got your shield to hand.

That said ... 

Lesson 24: The beauty of the internet means you can elbow your way in boldly, by typing, and they'll never hear your quavering voice, they'll never see your nervous unstill fingers, your anxious furrowed brow, your bottom lip pinched between your teeth as you psyche yourself up to chat! 

OK, so you don't know the blogger you find yourself wanting to chat with . But, if you like what they've got to say, there's only one way to let them know. Throw caution to the wind and say something.

Lesson 25: Don't feel silly about 'butting in'.
  • Ask yourself what it is you plan to say in your comment. 
  • Is is adding to their current debate, contributing something welcome? 
  • Will it make the blogger glad you spoke up?
If so, say it. Who doesn't want to have nice people saying nice stuff to them? You're contribution is as worthy as anyone else's.

[BTW: If you're not planning to say something nice, if you are just there to mutter ‘Your hair/child/cat is gross’ … then maybe put your fingers away. And sit on them until you calm down.] ;-)

Lesson 26: I can’t take bloggers seriously who take themselves too seriously. 
And my-oh-my, do some people take their platform as a 'Blogger' verrrrrrryyyyy seriously.

Some speak as if they're imparting some Extremely Vital Knowledge. Or as if they're talking to children. Or writing a school essay.

I like to useful, I like to offer you my company while you're here, I know for sure that some of the things I share about myself help some of you feel you're not alone, and I like to be thorough and thoughtful and non-judgemental ... but equally ...

... I like to talk to you like I would if you were in the room with me. From one [almost-normal] person to another.

Not from a self-important position of authority. Or a pedestal [because the more I'm kept away from anything I can fall off, the better].

FYI: Whenever I ask James what he thought of a particular blog post of mine he almost always says "It sounds like you." And, as the man's spent the last 20+ years listening to me chatter away ... he should know.

Now .. at the risk of taking myself too seriously ...

Lesson 27: Lots of bloggers apologise ... a lot. 
I like you. I do. And I'd never deliberately set out to offend you. And yet ... you won't find me apologising very much here.

[Unless I'm being silly .... like apologising for mentioning for the 900th time that I went to see Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet. Because that would be silly. Because I'm not sorry. Come visit me on my death bed and I'll find a way to rattle that tale out again.]

In my 300-seeking travels I saw a lot of [female] bloggers making apologies for all kinds of things; such as:
  • not blogging on the particular days of the week she'd said she was going to; 
  • not being able to maintain her blogging schedule while starting univeristy/ a new job etc;
  • and blogging about topics the reader might be put off by [ranging from depression to cold sores.]
And I understand. Truly. I empathise. I know it's scary to think you're trying to build a blogging presence, and you've read 100 'How To's about setting and sticking to a schedule or keeping things professional or shiny or glamorous. And you feel you need to follow those 'rules'.

And I know many women like to please, like to be liked, and don't want to be controversial, or disappointing, or seen in any way as 'less than'. 

But the apologising needs to stop. 

The sooner the better.

Especially if you want to build a following in your blogging career; because no one feels comfortable following someone who's not comfortable leading. 

You don't need to be hard, mechanical, masculine, cold or overly professional to lead people. But you do need to stop apologising for things that [a] you can't help and [b] honestly ... no one else cares about and probably wouldn't have noticed if you hadn't mentioned it. 

Be yourself and don't apologise for it.

If you plan to say sorry each and every time you dare to be genuine, flawed or authentic ... you'll be a husk of a blogger - and human being - in no time. 

Lesson 28: There are a lot of bloggers discussing mental health out there. 
Before I go on let me state for the record that I have experienced anxiety and clinical depression in the past and so ... I'm not just talking out of my ... the top of my head here.

And the fact that I know it intimately is probably why the subject kept catching my attention as I searched around for something to comment on during my 30 days. And yet I certainly didn't set out to deliberately find bloggers who were discussing mental health issues. 

Yet I found them.

In spades.

And, the fact that mine was a purely ad hoc, wherever-the-wind-takes-me search for new bloggers [I didn't do a Twitter search for #DepressedBloggers] makes me conclude that:
  •  the issue is both widespread in society 
  • AND it's being discussed widely in Blogworld.
Now, initially, I took this to be a sign of greater openness and awareness. When I had my issues in the 1990s I was thoroughly, deeply and irredeemably ashamed at how I struggled with the things that ‘everyone’ else could manage on a daily basis. And so I did everything in my power to keep my illness and treatment as secret as possible.

So when, in my 30 days, I saw so many bloggers discussing their mental health problems on their blogs I thought "Wow. How wonderful that they feel they can be open about it. Times have changed. That's amazing." And yet ...

... after I'd read the individual posts, I began to see a pattern emerging. The bloggers - while openly admitting their issues online - often mentioned:
  • how they struggled to tell people in their personal lives, offline;
  • how they felt ashamed of their situation
  • how other people didn't understand
And it made me wonder ...
  • Maybe people are talking about it more ... but the stigma remains. 
  • And maybe the shame is part of the illness. Maybe it's not just a cultural thing. 
  • Maybe it's a personal feeling that isn't related to how many people are currently talking about it. 
  • Maybe it's something depressed people will always experience ... although it's something we can absolutely emerge from with gentle handling over time. With kindness. To ourselves first and foremost.
And maybe that's the great service all these bloggers will ultimately provide, to show that yes it's widespread, yes it's hard but yes, we can get through it.

Dismantling the stigma of mental health issues brick by brick. Blogger by blogger.

Now, on a lighter note ...

Lesson 29: Lots of young female bloggers talk about gin
Gin's everywhere. It's the trendy red-lipstick-wearing-vintage-loving female equivalent of the hipster beard.

I didn't realise it was such a 'thing' now. And I feel old. Because I prefer a nice chilled Sauvignon Blanc and soda.

Anyone for a 'bloggers ruin' and tonic?

And finally ... after visiting a total of 137 blogs, 100 of which were entirely new-to-me, during a 30 day period I can confidently tell you this ...

Lesson 30: You have to kiss a lot of frogs... 
... before you connect with a blogger who feels 'just right' to you. [I seem to have mashed-up The Frog Prince with Goldilocks there ... but you take the point ...]

If you're planning to embark on a voyage of blog-discovery of your own then you should know that:
  • It probably won't happen overnight. 
  • It might not even happen after 20 days of searching. 
  • But it will happen ... you will find someone whose online home you feel comfortable hanging around in and where you want to drop by occasionally.
  • It's just that ... it might literally be someone. One single new blogger.
And to find the Prince/Princess of your blogging dreams ... you'll have had to read a lot of content written by a lot of frogs.

[Most of which will have been sponsored posts telling you about how to style your lily-pad or the 5 best water-proof mascaras.]

As I mentioned in my earlier post [all about the statistics from my challenge] – my attrition rate was fascinating. I visited 100 new-to-me blogs ... added just a dozen or so added to my blog-reader ... had about the same amount reply to my comments ... had a handful visit my blog ... and have struck up something rapport with a couple of new faces and continue to connect with a few using other social media.

 But the thing is ... there's so much out there that you're inevitably going to have to experience a lot of "What are you talking about?" before you land on a "Oh, yes, I thought it was just me ...".

And when you do land on a new blogger who you simply 'get' ... it's a treat. [And a relief ... especially if you've been searching for 30 days!]


It sounds like a lot of hassle doesn't it? And it is. You're not wrong.

Of course ... you don't need to launch full tilt into a 30 day challenge to find quality content, maybe you can challenge yourself to find one new blog a month.

But why bother? Why seek out new-to-you content  at all? Well ... 

... if, like me, you enjoy reading blogs [Which Oh.My.Goodness. you must do if you've made it to the end of this post!!] then ...
  • You're going to want / need to refresh your reading matter from time to time. 
  • You're going to need to find bloggers who reflect your changing interests and priorities as you move through life;
  • You're going to need to find 'new blood' to replace those bloggers that stop blogging;
  • If you're a blogger you're going to need to refill your well of inspiration ... you need to see what and who else is out that and what they're doing these days. [Hint: it's mainly gin.]
And ... eventually ... it'll be worth the effort.
  • It was worth the effort for me ... because of the lessons I unexpectedly learned along the way [I learned more lessons than I found new favourite bloggers!] 
  • It was worth if for me ... for the shift in perspective it offered me including the realisation that my blog's not perfect ... but it's pretty decent compared to some.
  • It was worth if for me ... because, while I could have spent my time reading up on pre-packaged tips on blog design, or content ideas, or marketing strategies ... my 300 in 30 Days challenge actually led me to find out for myself about what I currently like/don't like  
Ultimately, like all the greatest odysseys, when setting off on a New Blog Hunt you might think it's to find out about what's out there ... then end up learning more about yourself


Thank you for making it through to the end of this vast post. [If you just landed here by scrolling to the bottom without reading it all then ... fair enough ... at least you're still here!]

If you've found anything in this post useful, fun, interesting, diverting, intriguing ... would you consider sharing it with someone? Especially other bloggers or potential bloggers? But, really, anyone at all. Even your cat.

New sets of eyes landing on their words is the best gift you can give a blogger.

Apart from a comment that is.

Oh and ... a book deal.




  1. There is so much here that I think I'm going to have to come back and have another read with a coffee later!

    On first run through
    - Yes: you have to read properly to comment properly and it can take time. This is what I found on Storytelling Sunday especially. I had to read each one carefully to make sure I'd got it properly before I could make an appropriate comment. It was fun but sometimes challenging. But I would never have NOT made that effort. I get a bit annoyed at bloggers who run a linky and don't show up to appreciate the participants.
    - I had the threaded replies on my blog for a while but some readers said they then couldn't see the comment box and I had to take it away again
    -Hashtags? How does this work?!
    - Which brings me to - I am completely guilty of NOT going back to see if I have received a reply. I honestly don't have the time and I do wonder how many others are the same..and if that means I don't really need to worry about not having threaded answers. I try to reply by email directly if I can

    1. I know ... there's probably *too much* here .. but kind of wanted it kept all together - rather than divide it into lots of separate posts. Anyway ...

      the # thing ... you just type it into the search box on Twitter and hit search. I've tried out your city and country ... and there are people using it! You might find some locals to meet up with!

  2. Great post Julie! I really enjoyed reading about what you learnt in your quest! I too have noticed the abundance of gin, and I too prefer a sauvignon blanc - although I do prefer mine neat ie no soda. I didn't really reach out to new to me bloggers in my 30 days of commenting, but caught up with lots of bloggers I sort of knew before, especially my two interests, scrapbooking and sewing. It was a really great idea of yours and I enjoyed my 30 days. I have yet to write a final post on mine. So a big thank you from me!

    1. Ah, the hard stuff eh? Neat Sauv.B!

      It's just as useful to keep up to date with your 'old' friends too - more than half my comments were on familiar blogs.

      And ... you're welcome!

  3. Now feeling slightly ashamed by the possibility that I may be one of those 'gin' bloggers!
    This is a really interesting post and I need to pop back and read it again to make sure I've not missed anything. And by the way, I won't ever get fed up with hearing how you went to see Hamlet. (Who played to main character? Remind me)
    I know what you mean about some blogs being more interesting to read because of their layout and Blogger frustrates me sometimes because I can't make things look how I'd like. I'm responsible for the school newsletter and spend so much time getting layouts just so and I wish I could do the same with my blog. Sometimes it feels like a huge achievement just getting the photo in the right place, not on it's side or upside down!
    Like you, I'm not a huge fan of sponsored blogs and I'm gutted that you didn't find a bloggers over 50 link. Maybe us oldies are all too busy drinking gin ;-)

    1. I think is name begins with a B ... might rhyme with 'many' ....

      It's interesting to hear about your layout issues with Blogger ... I don't think I have any ... I wonder how that is?

  4. I think I will have to come back to this post again.
    I don't do twitter so wouldn't think of looking for like minded bloggers there.
    I do know I like visuals on blogs, ideally photos or pictures, or even changes in type face to keep me motivated to read...not sure if this is connected to my dyslexia or just a short attention span!!

    1. I think that if you want people to read it ... you need to make it readable. It's kind of a courtesy ... in writing!

  5. Julie you have made some very interesting points & observations. There were quite a few I was head nodding to & maybe just one that I shook my head at. I will need to come back to this post & re-read, probably in bits. I think for me the fear of writing how I am in a room often makes for a school newsletter post. Plus I live in mortal fear of offending anyone. Sorry, oops, sorry, it's part of my Canadian self. Thanks for encouraging so many of us to venture out & read & comment more. Gin, no thank you. IF I risk a drink, I'll take a cheeky Cabernet Sauvignon/ Merlot blend - cheers.

    1. Enjoy your Cab Sav/ Merlot while enjoying your blog reading. I don't mind if you don't agree with all the points ... I wouldn't being entirely me if I only said what I thought everyone would say. It's nice to hear your point of view too!

  6. I think I've forgotten what was at the start of your post - especially as I'm so nosy I also read everybody else's comments too! I think I've given up on the 30 days of blogging as a lot of the daily challenges were business related and I am very like minded in not enjoying sponsored/promoting blogs.
    There's a lot of useful teaching in this post - I will definitely have to read this again. I'm not the greatest twitter user but I am definitely going to try and find some local bloggers this w.ay. I may comment again when I have reread the post! I think I signed up for Disqus a while back so I must also try that way to keep track of comments etc.
    Thanks Julie - not only an informative post but you made it fun to read, like you always do.

    1. Oooh do let me know if you find any locals! I'd love to know if it worked out for anyone!

      Thanks for the lovely feedback Louise. :-)

  7. I apologise too much too. I must stop!!

    1. I feel I should apologise now ... ;-) Here's to not apologising for things we didn't intend /couldn't help!

  8. I must say that you certainly did learn a lot in those 30 days. lol I don't have that kind of patience to even attempt reading/commenting on that many blogs. The way I find new blogs is doing a search on things I'm interested in [obsessed with?] and eventually I come across blogs on the topic. At this time it's bullet journaling.

    I used to blog but it's been quite a long time since I have. Not enough interest in doing it. Have a nice day, friend. I always love your posts, no matter how long they are. : )

    1. That's a good way to find new blogs ... I think my own search was a bit more unfocussed because I was! I didn't know what I wanted to find although, now, afterwards, I think I have a better grasp.

      Thanks for your lovely words of encouragement!

  9. I have just finished reading this interesting post and would feel guilty if I left without commenting. Finding kindred spirits in the blogging world is a hard task but so worthwhile - to find someone who thinks about the world in the same way is a 'gift above rubies'. There are so many beautifully written blogs out there but also many more 'duff' ones which quite honestly I find totally boring - bad layouts, bad photographs, ill thought out content - but sometimes, just sometimes, you find a gem, which makes it all worthwhile.

    1. Absolutely! If only there was an easier way of finding the good ones!

  10. Whoa! That certainly was a max sized post....good points....must be moving in the wrong blogging circles. No gin here. Or I'm Old. That's prob. it!! Agree with beauty V fashion blogs....think I'm comfortable reaching out every now & then to new blogs. But totally don't have time for any more!!! Just a few observations. And short, succint posts....are like CAS pages. It's a personality thing, I think!

    1. Not sure I've ever managed a short, succint post OR a CAS page! And I think - at the moment - I do have time for more blogs ... once I've got rid of the stuff I'm no longer interested in.

  11. I do enjoy dropping by your cozy online home often and listening to your chats!

  12. As you know, I took part in the challenge too! It was exhausting but I am glad that I took part. Thank you for the info on the # thing. I am on twitter but still don't really 'get it' but will try doing searches using that to scale down my search for particular topics. :-)

    1. Let me know if the Twitter thing works for you Simone - it'd be good to hear another perspective.

  13. I've always thought that views mattered more than comments. I'd rather have 1000 views and 5 comments than 200 views and 25 comments!!! And I'd rather 5 people tweeted my post saying 'great post from...' than have 25 people comment 'great post' - which sometimes makes me wonder if they've actually read it, or just want me to comment on theirs - I find there is a lot of the reciprocal stuff going on. I click on posts only when their tweet provokes my interest (yours did), and comment on them only if I've got anything to say. But then I often notice that I immediately get one back!!! I find that weird.

    Oh - great post, by the way!! :)

    1. Well, 1000 view would certainly be very nice I quite agree! But that's just as unlikely to happen for me as getting lots of comments!

      So I'll take any kind of communication - including social media - to reassure me my words are getting out there. #300in30days was just an idea I had to create some engagement ... and I definitely didn't leave any 'great post' type comments on my challenge!

  14. Wowzers, I don't think I've ever read a post this long before but I found your lessons really interesting and can definitely relate to quite a few of them! Thanks for the tips, I'm off in search of more new blogs to follow now, cheers!

  15. As a new blogger, I find this post extremely helpful. I'm saving this for reference as I look for blogs to follow!

  16. Hi Julie ~ Thanks so much for visiting my blog and leaving a lovely comment this morning. LOVE the vintage wrapping paper in your newest post, but I felt compelled to comment on this post about your 300 comments in 30 days. I nodded in agreement to the majority of your bullet points above, and smiled at many of them too. I used to receive around 15-25 comments per post but that amount has dropped over the past year or so as some of my blogging friends have discontinued blogging and also many of my readers view my posts by way of a Facebook link and either "like" it there or choose to remain unidentified. It always surprises me when I share something with an acquaintance in person and they say, "Oh yeah! I read that on your blog." LOL. Like, really? Could you have "liked" the post or given me SOME sort of indication that SOMEONE is reading my words?!?! Congratulations on completing your 300c/30d challenge and also for the inspiration you give to others. Wishing you much continued success with your lovely blog, Julie! xo


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