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.

15 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? : )

    1. I’m winging it with my blog so I share like most teachers appear to, which is pinterest and instagram. Apparently Insta traffic is the key. My niche is preschool, there isn’t a nice for home preschools or home daycares. One of the reasons I am doing this is because I am afforadble but I offer preschool curriculum/Kindergaten prep and I think home daycares need to step up their game.
      I only write infrequently because of 1. time–I’m incapable of writing less then a paragraph by nature I’m a writer and friends joke about my texts being books. 2. NO one seems to interact in depth much where writing is considered on social media. I know my friends don’t on my personal fb posts. (see#1) 3. There is some interaction in my facebook groups so I will respond to questions but those are huge groups its difficult to dialog.
      At least blogging gives me the opportunity to write. Also, folks seem to be interested in like ONE topic and I am interested in everything from true crime, to education to wwii to psychology, and of course photographs. I only use my phone for photographs but its pretty good for people . I birdwatch and i’ve been guilty of watching thru the camera trying to get a shot instead of just WATCHING. So its all good.

      1. Mel,

        On point 2, yes, I have tried on and off with social media like Twitter and Instagram, but have found it a very limiting and superficial form for someone who likes to have more lengthy and in depth conversations. You know, more than three words and a string of emojis!

        On point 3, Yes another reason my online interaction is almost entirely through blogs is generally each one has a fairly small and familiar group of contributors, like regulars at a coffee shop or park. It feels local and manageable, not like every comment is by someone you haven’t seen in a thread for three months – or ever before! Village like, rather than a sprawling metropolis…

  5. I’ve been meaning to comment here since you posted it, which is why this is one of the first times I’m commenting on your (or any other) blog. I think that’s at least in part habituated lurking (I’m similarly a rare poster on forums). The other part is the time it takes to write a meaningful comment (and like you I find social media “comments” too far the other way to be useful for this)

    I will endeavour to get better, at least for your blog, which I found not too long ago and have been enjoying hugely — aided in no small part by your random post link.
    Who knows, I may start my own blog, which is another thing that’s been thought about and not happened as yet.

    1. Hi Rob, many thanks for your comments, glad you’re coming out of the shadows!

      I think there are some websites where you’re reading purely for research or information – and these can also be blogs and forums, not just static page sites – so you don’t really have any need to make a comment. Other sites are more community and conversation based, where there is information, but also personal experiences, which are a starting point for others to join and share theirs. That’s what I aspire to make 35hunter like.

      I guess it’s something I’m well used to. I’ve had a blog of some kind for about 15 years now, and ran an artist community on the Ning platform for four or five years, and another on Google+, so it’s just a huge part of my online experience – chatting with others, encouraging conversation and community.

      Regarding the time it takes to write a meaningful comment, I wonder if some people have a misconception of how little time it takes. I think because we’re so embedded now in the superficial culture of swipes and likes and emojis and so on, and any one of those actions takes merely a second, we feel that anything like a comment takes far too long. But all those micro-actions add up. You could continue to make 30, 60, 90 swipes in an online session, or you could take that 30, 60, 90 seconds and write a comment instead, which I would argue offers far more to you, the person you’re responding to, and the other readers in the community, than those superficial micro-actions. That’s just my view of course.

      I’m really pleased you’re enjoying the blog, and I’ve just rejigged the pages at the top slightly to include a Digital Classics page. I still have the Random page link too, I think it’s a great in built feature in WordPress and fun to use. I’m planning to do a series of random sequels, where I select an old post at random, then write an update on where I am now with regard to that particular subject or topic.

      What have you been thinking about starting a blog about? Something photography related?

      Thanks again for your input Rob.

      1. I think you’re entirely right about the different types of sites. I just fall in to the habit of treating them all as research/information, and not engaging.

        On time, now I’ve started, I realise, again, you’re correct. In my case it was never the time more than a micro-actions, but the time more than reading and moving on, without any action.

        I like the idea of random sequels, It is interesting to hear how people’s opinions have changed over time.

        As for my own blog. Possibly photography related, at least in part. I think the issue I’ve always had is that I’m never sure I want to restrict myself to one topic, and haven’t ever come up with a way I think a more generalist blog would work. I suspect in reality I need to start one then work it out “in flight”.

        1. Well some can definitely be both research and engagement.

          Thanks re the random sequels, watch out for future posts.

          I think you’re exactly right about working the blog out as you go. Before I started 35hunter, it was going to be a blog exclusively about 35mm f/2.8 film compacts from the 80s, the early Konicas, Minoltas, Canons, Nikons and Pentaxes… But I wanted to be the blog to be a fairly long term project – knowing from previous blogs I had about how the longer you blog consistently, the more you build a body of work and a readership.

          I thought about whether I would still be enjoying those 35/2.8 compacts six, nine, 24 months down the line, and decided I probably wouldn’t.

          So I started 35hunter with a wider remit – hunting for beauty and balance, camera in hand.

          Which has allowed for some variation of topics along the way, whilst retaining a central theme.

          I think when starting a blog, you can either go super specialized, and then be prepared to write variations of the same dozen basic articles over and over, or give yourself a little wider reach from the outset to encompass the inevitable personal evolution you’ll experience along the way.

          Good luck Rob, whatever you decide, and make sure above all you’re writing about something you enjoy writing about.

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