How To Support The Blogs And Communties You Love

As I’ve spoken about previously, aside from enjoying the writing and thinking out loud my blog provides, a major reason for having a blog at all is to create and grow a community of like minded people.

I could just jump on an existing site or social media platform but I prefer to do things my way, and have control over adverts, layout, design, privacy and so on.

Whilst I use WordPress of course, and Flickr to host my photographs that feature here, these platforms give a great deal of freedom in what I can do, and I can’t really think of any feature they lack.

Even if you don’t have a blog of your own, there’s plenty you can do to support the blogs you enjoy, and help them grow.

Personally I feel a certain duty on this front.

The blogs I really enjoy reading I try to support, so they continue to exist and thrive.

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My approach to support other blogs is very simple, and can be summed up in three simple steps.

1. Read blogs you enjoy, and I mean properly read, not scan and speed read before racing on to the next one, having only absorbed a fraction of the full content of the post.

For centuries, reading has been a way to share and distribute the thoughts of one person to another.

When you read a book, it’s like the writer opening their doors and inviting you to spend some time with them and their unique view of the world.

With blogs of course, there’s a whole other dimension, because you reading is the beginning of a conversation between you and the writer. More on that below.

If you feel you don’t have enough time to properly read and absorb all of the blogs you enjoy, then something has to give.

Either allocate more time to reading blogs overall, or cut down on the number of blogs you follow.

If this means you decide you can follow 10 blogs, and need to unsubscribe from 35hunter as it’s number 11 or 111 on your favourites list to focus more time to a blog you enjoy more, then please go ahead, I fully support you!

2. Comment on blog posts you like.

This is the conversation I began talking about above.

My general view on “likes” is not a secret. I don’t like them at all, and never use them myself. William wrote a fantastic analogy recently, far more eloquently than I’ve been able to.

I feel it’s infinitely more helpful and supportive to take an extra thirty seconds to leave a comment on a blog post you’ve got something from, even if it’s just to say the post got you thinking, or gave you a useful tip.

It gives the writer a useful snippet of feedback, encouragement to keep writing, and the opportunity to continue the conversation with you. Which brings us to…

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3. Follow the conversation.

WordPress makes this incredibly easy. When you comment, just tick that box that says “Notify me of new comments via email” and then when someone else replies to the same blog post you’ll get an email plus a notification in your WP dashboard (an orange or pink dot will appear on that little bell in the top right corner) so you can follow up further if you wish.

As a blogger it’s frustrating when someone goes to the trouble of commenting, we reply perhaps with a further question, and the conversation stops dead, tumbleweeds blowing across the foot of the page.

Sometimes of course it may be that the original commenter didn’t have anything else to say, or has been busy on other things, but I bet more often than not it’s because they didn’t tick that option to follow the conversation, and so have no idea that anyone has responded back.

Even if you don’t (yet) have your own blog, you can still play a major part in building and supporting the community around other blogs.

I hope these simple tips help you do that.

Do you have any useful tips to share about how you follow and support your favourite blogs?

We’d love to hear them in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking. Please share this post with others you feel will enjoy it too. If you’re interested, this is what I’m into right now.

9 thoughts on “How To Support The Blogs And Communties You Love”

  1. 🙂 You have made some great points (Some of which I highlighted in a past blog post of mine).

    I am all for supporting my fellow bloggers.

    One of the problems that a lot of bloggers face is following too many bloggers; which results in not having sufficient time to visit those blogs.

    On the whole, the WordPress community is a very supportive one.

    One of the downsides of WordPress bloggers is that a large percentage of them do not stick with blogging; in spite of providing them with our loyal support.

    1. Thanks Renard, appreciate your thoughts.

      Yes I agree about trying to follow too many blogs, as I mentioned in my post above.

      I tend to keep my total blogs followed to about 25, and some of those post very rarely, so it’s more like 15 active blogs. Which I can follow fine, and feel I have enough time to properly read and absorb each post. I’d rather do this than follow 100 and only skim the new posts.

      Same with anything, do less, but do it better.

      Yes the internet is littered with dormant blogs. Broadly, I would say there are two types –

      1. Blogs that used to be very active, are full of great posts, and had a receptive audience, but the writer for whatever reason moved on. Still they exist as fantastic archives, like finding a book in a library you’ve never read before but becomes an instant favourite.

      2. Blogs that never really got going, and the author became discouraged, bored with the topic, etc, and didn’t sustain it. It’s a shame, because many have potential, but yeh blogging, or doing anything consistently over a period of time takes commitment and discipline. Or, there’s the easier approach, write about something you love and have plenty to say about, then you’re unlikely to run out of ideas for posts!

  2. ‘What we talk about when we talk about writers writing or not writing about readers reading or not reading or replying or leaving mere winks or standing mute & shoving right off elsewhere’ (with apologies to Raymond Carver).

    Providing a house-phone on the front desk of one’s diary is a tradition of social traffic, as in the multi-handed middle-school Slam Book; anatomically & effectually, a serial interactive essay or story, where the author has the lectern and solicits chat, rejoinder, debate that can go other places.

    In its life-cycle, a parallel sub-topic will emerge (if only in the mind of the blogger): its success or failure or inviability, and the bloggite may sometimes stand off at a distance, like a Comanche, eyes shaded with a hand, peering back at the original subject.

    Thus it sprouts a sort of Parallel Historiography, thinking and blogging about Best Practices in Blogging and the Pathologies of Blog Failure, and take thereby a salvo of Hawthorne Effect. This is good: that concurrent sprout makes the whole salad much richer, flavorish, without which it descends into, e.g., gear-quacking & partisan internecine squabbles, as in even the most mature of forums.

    I first encountered the B word, the idea of it in a post on an early photography mailing list by a man of good eye & solid work, who hustled in the creative and production ends of screened art with a middling success. He had a wide horizon of interests and activities, supping and tasting a bit of everything along the steam-table of Culture, and was thrilled about this New Thing, what could be done with it, and straightaway launched his own. And a little audience duly filed in and chose seats.

    It take solid self-knowledge and a bit of positive-yet-humble self-esteem to own and operate what amounts to a diary/guest book left on a bus bench, but that can easily slide into narcissism.

    This gent, well, The Proper Study of Mankind is Man became the Proper Study of Mankind is Me. Not naked and ranting, mind, yet a tad autoreflexive, which sucked up all the air. Crawling up one’s own cornucopia. The Writing-Gene (writing qua writing) drove it along for a year or two but ego drove the audience out. And withering, was revealed not to be a collection of standalone personal essays, but a flopped blog. You don’t invite comment and not listen.

    So the fact, forward or reverse is that the qualities of the blogger determines the participation of those ‘blogged’; the pitch defines the catch and the pitch back, and the topic is collaboratively lead and it deepens and widens and grows thick-waisted in a small economy.

    And the life of the economy and the commerce and exchange always relies solely on the precious metal at its base. Gold in the Treasury makes for value in the town and will not go untraded. Wherefore plug in the Engine Diagnostic Cable from time to time; asking aloud ‘can this be made better?’ makes it better, as indeed you/we see.

    1. William, yes there is that constant balancing act between asking blog readers “what would you like more of?” and just saying “this is my blog, I’ll write what I want, take it or leave it”.

      This blog is definitely a diary of my own photography adventures and experiments. But it’s also, I hope, a meeting place for others to share theirs, so together we can improve our expertise in, and enjoyment of, photography in all its incarnations.

      There are other factors in a blog’s “success” that will always remain rather shrouded in mystery. For example, this month I don’t think I’ve done anything much different from January, yet, half way through the month as we are, views and comments are significantly down, back to the kind of levels they were at for most of 2018. I don’t know why.

      This might be a little frustrating, but doesn’t really change my approach going forward. If I’d have found that I had a spike in interest because I wrote a post about an obscure Soviet camera from the 1930s, say, I wouldn’t then gather up all the obscure Soviet cameras from the 1930s I could, review them, and hope to replicate the “success” of that one post. I continue to write about what interests me, and hope that more often than not this interests others enough to share their experiences and thoughts too.

      Thank you for your comments as always!

      1. Well, perhaps the basic appeal fetching visits, comments, etc. lies in your enthusiasm and clear enjoyment of your interests, and your audience can relate. The tenor is slow and reflective: meditative steeping.

        Your voice is personal, always civil; your positions, even strongly held, are accommodating and respectful of others’ views. You reply to individuals, to what they say. Posts are couched as an opening conversation and not an address.

        So why do the numbers go up and down? We can muse a bit –

        – For one, in January, February, you are breaking new ground not seen elsewhere, and certainly not ‘trending’: the unseen worth of old, cheap digital cameras in making fine images.

        This goes sawing right across the grain of photography discussion anywhere. I found, what, one article in one place about one lady using old digital kit in serious commercial and artistic use. How contrarian is that? You couldn’t buck all tides in all estuaries more if you tried to boogie board across Fundy.

        It’s an exciting and interesting topic, too, but few out there are trying to Google up ‘Canon + 8mp’. They’ve been trained, habituated to fix on the opposite Pole, that actualization of their visions lies up North, in the land of Big Bucks and new features. The ongoing triumph of gear over image – and attention spans are too short to absorb that gear is accessible but good images very hard won.

        – for another, it is quiet in here. Nothing flashing, scrolling, popping-up, autoplaying, and hey, where’s the click-bait? You solicit thought, symposium, the unadorned core. There’s no mix tape, no sound track, no avocado toast, no ok-by-custom bad language, no implied sullen rage, no rap, and zero tattoos. A near-singularity; antithetical to the entire cultural world.

        Does the drift of stats loom large? Are numbers the goal? Maybe the present numbers say more about the society of photo people in these days than 35hunter.

        You talk modestly about images and making them. People listen and reply.

        Rare, in the din we live in.

        Age quod agis.

        1. William, thank you as always for your enriching thoughts, and for always sending me to Google to look phrases and words up!

          I’m very happy that you “get” what I’m trying to do here. Thoughtful conversation around our shared passion of photography, where my views and experiments are just a starting point to encourage others to dive in with theirs.

          On “the land of Big Bucks and new features”, I have a post almost finished which is mostly about this. I’m not immune in succumbing to Gear Acquisition Syndrome, but for me it’s never been about chasing the numbers, the latest and greatest tech. I couldn’t really care less, and never follow any current photography conversation or magazines.

          But it excites me tremendously that there are quite probably millions of digital cameras laying dormant in drawers and cupboards that haven’t seen daylight in three, five, 10, 15 years or more, that could so easily be encouraged back to life, and to create their greatest images yet.

          My “lust” is not to simple gather up gear for the sake of it, it’s about this challenge and great pleasure in figuring out how to tease something beautiful and memorable from a device that’s essentially been discarded as someone’s else trash, and half a dozen “upgrades” later they’ve forgotten they even have it.

          I could get carried away, digital cameras of course are dumb hunks of metal, plastic, glass and electronics, but if they have at least a brain, and an eye, and if they did have a soul, I hope that soul would be rejoicing at the new life and opportunities they’re given when someone like you or me picks one up for the price of lunch…

          “- for another, it is quiet in here” – Yes, very much intentionally, and I have another upcoming post exactly about this, called “How To Blog Quietly”. I want 35hunter to be like a well crafted tool, or a hand made piece of Shaker furniture, singularly focused on being a place for singular focus, around the many tangential topics of photography, one at a time. Hmm, maybe I shall go back and edit the post and insert that line… : )

          PS/ How are you getting on with those Powershots? I confess I may have another one or two lined up for future One Month, One Camera adventures!

          1. ‘How are you getting on with those Powershots?’

            Oh, wringing it out a bit – of course, there’s a broad overlap with the other Canon CCDs. It’s … beefier, but comes to hand as well.

            I photograph slowly, infrequently, as I stumble over things. Just now in from the garden where the overwinter frost cycle has sheared away spear points of terracotta, and I shall try to get a bit of that as dark falls.

            You know – photographs of silence.

  3. New subscriber. Recently started an early ed blog so still sifting through the “keys” to see what works.
    I subscribe to a few blogs that have 0 to do with my direct topic, simply bc I am a perspective consumer.
    Also, I do enjoy graphics and images, we all have our mediums.
    I’ve applied post basics from one of your more recent posts and it’s a great guideline.
    Creativity arrives from a variety of sources, at least mine does.
    At this point in time I try to support my favorites by liking and sharing. I try to comment. 1 per roughly 45 days.
    I enjoy the simplicity and refreshment of your blog even though I’m,not into cameras. It also helps me broaden my world technologically-.
    Ciao til –

  4. Mel, thanks for your comment!

    It’s always good to hear about new blogs starting up. I think there’s still so much value in them, in fact I feel they’re even more important with all the “all surface no feeling” social platforms online these days.

    I think there comes a point where you can only follow so many blogs about the same topic(s) you write about. It’s great to have some variety. I can think of two blogs off the top of my head I follow – one about depression and anxiety, the other just quite silly and flippant – that offer great counter balance to the photography stuff.

    I’m not much of a fan of “likes”, I just don’t get the point of them. Where/how do you share blog posts? I’d be interested to hear.

    How come you only comment once per 45 days? Most bloggers generally have stuff to say,so that seems a tiny amount. : )

    Really pleased to hear you enjoy the blog, and yes I try not to make it too camera-y, if that’s a word, so it offers thoughts and ideas for anyone.

    Thanks again for stopping by. Perhaps we’ll speak again in 45 days? : )

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