I have been thinking lately about how blogging can create community, and how, in some ways, Say the Trees Have Ears has failed while my other blog, A Penchant for Paper, has succeeded.
A Penchant for Paper is primarily about pens, journals, and notebooks. It has not been around as long as this blog (I began it about 8 months after I began this one), and it has over twice as many followers as this one. New followers regularly join. Readers often send me emails as well as comments on posts. Nearly all of my posts receive multiple comments. Discussions among readers often develop in the comments section. I look forward to posting to A Penchant for Paper, and to seeing what sorts of interesting, thoughtful comments I will receive.
Say the Trees Have Ears, however, is less active. New followers are relatively rare, and recently I have had a few followers leave. Posts do receive comments, but there are less of them, and more posts go without comments. Readers hardly ever send me emails. Discussions hardly ever develop among readers. I am often discouraged when I spend a long time working on a post and hardly anyone leaves a comment. I do have a few readers who do regularly leave excellent comments (thank you all very much!), but their numbers are smaller than at my other blog.
Of course, part of this is likely due to the different nature of the two subjects. Probably more people are interested in pens, journals, and notebooks than are interested in... well, whatever the subject of this blog is. Posts at A Penchant for Paper are lighter, contain more images, and are probably easier to read. I often address questions directly to readers (e.g., what size of notebook do you prefer? do you prefer lined or plain paper?), something I rarely do here. Posts here are a bit more vague, harder to respond to, the subject matter not as well-defined.
But still. I follow a number of blogs that are related to the subject matter of both of my blogs, and I have noticed some differences. The pen and paper bloggers I follow post more often and more regularly than most of the Pagan and Druid bloggers I follow. Pen and paper bloggers are more likely to link to each other's blogs - a number of bloggers actually share such links on a weekly basis, while a monthly carnival related to pens and paper circulates among the blogs. This sort of inter-linking does not seem to be nearly as common among the Pagan and Druid blogs I follow. Many pen and paper bloggers whose blogs I have linked to at A Penchant for Paper actively follow and comment on my blog, while few of the bloggers that I have linked to in the sidebar at Say the Trees Have Ears do so. (I know that a few of you do, and thank you very much for doing so!)
What I am saying is that my other blog has been better able to build a community, and interact with and become part of the wider blogging community than this blog has, and I don't think it's entirely my fault or the fault of the subject matter. I haven't really done anything differently between the two blogs. I post about the same amount at both blogs; perhaps a bit more frequently at A Penchant for Paper, but blogging has been pretty slow at both lately. I am just as bad at leaving my own comments at the pen and paper blogs I follow as at the Pagan and Druid blogs I follow. Although the subject matter of A Penchant for Paper may have wider interest and make it easier to readers to comment and interact, I don't think this accounts for all of the differences I have noted between the two blogging communities.
Perhaps I'm totally wrong about this. Perhaps I'm judging the Pagan, Druid, and other blogs I follow wrongly, and there are actually a bunch of great, well-written blogs out there that have the same connected, friendly feeling that I have noticed among pen and paper blogs. And somehow I just haven't found them.
While my experience at my other blog has been largely positive, my experiences here have been more variable, some very positive, while others more negative. This blog feels like a new blog, one that is just starting to reach out and build a community, rather than one that will have been around for three years this fall. When I began this blog, I thought that by this time I would have been able to build more of a community here than I have. I did build such a community at my other blog.
I don't want to alienate anyone here. I am very, very thankful for all the readers, commenters, and followers I have here. I am sure you are all lovely people. It's not your fault. If it's anyone's fault, it's mine. Am I missing something here? Have other Pagan, Druid, or spiritual bloggers noted similar patterns in their own blogging experiences, or is it just me? Is there something I can do differently? Is there something we can do differently?
Like what you read? Please visit my new blog: At the Edge of the Ordinary.