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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

My Blogging Story

Chilihead is collecting stories about how you came to blogging. She's asked a series of questions, and you can answer them and put your name on her Mr Linky list, so other people can drop by your blog and see your responses.

Here are mine:

How did you start blogging?

For me, blogging was a natural progression from using web forums and Usenet to talk about my family and political issues that confronted us. I started blogging in 2003, but pulled down most of those archives long ago as the information was not really what I wanted to focus upon.

Did you intend to be a blog w/a following? If so, how did you go about it?

No. I didn't even know that blogs had followings when I first started. I don't think most of them did, for there weren't a lot of personal blogs back then. When it dawned on me in around 2005 that people had followings, most of the people that did weren't the kind of blogs that I ever wanted to write anyhow. So I didn't really make much of an effort. Also, I'm too opinionated and passionate to ever have the kinds of following that other "popular"bloggers have. I argue. I disagree. I can be ruthless. Those aren't qualities that attract millions of readers unless you're Ann Coulter. And I'm no Ann Coulter, thank God.

What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been successful? If not, do you have a plan to achieve those goals?

My blog has always been about thinking through issues I feel passionate about. Recently I think I lost focus and started trying to cull readers. This was a big mistake for me. It made me feel like a fake, and it put me in cahoots with bloggers I don't admire. I think my blog has been quite successful in cultivating local readers who are interested in local politics. I get hundreds of hits when I post on local issues, and I've become a respected voice in our community's political power struggles. I do think I've been less successful in talking about national and international issues, but I'm beginning to change that. Much of my blogging is on the politics of poverty, something that seems to be a huge hot button item for many bloggers. But I feel compelled to write about it, and to hopefully help people to recognize that poverty exists within their own little worlds.

Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?

Yes. I was more political in the beginning, and then took much of those posts down and started focusing more on my family and especially my kids. Because I have older kids, it's much more difficult to blog about them due to privacy issues, and because so many readers have very bad attitudes towards teenagers. Then about 18 months ago I began blogging more on local politics, and less about my family. Plus, I blog professionally so I no longer blog much about recipes and food issues on my personal blog because I do that for work.

Additionally, I spent quite a few months trying to please readers and keeping my inner voice fairly silent. Now, not at all. I'm working to change the direction of my blog and if it bothers other people, I've asked them to stop reading. I've really clutched onto the "It's MY blog and I'll post what I want to" (think Leslie Gore) theme very recently, and it's a huge release for me. I'm happier blogging when I'm venting and not just trying to post cute little stories that are bland and boring.

What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started?

That the myth of the MommyBlogger 'community' is really just a myth and that there is a serious "in-crowd" mentality within the "popular" Mommy Bloggers that rivals most middle schools. It's pretty ugly. Had I known what unpleasant people these mean mommies are, I would have stayed far far away. Live and learn.

Do you make money with your blog?

Yes. I make a fairly decent amount of money on advertising, plus I blog at several other places for payment. My blog makes enough to pay for a nice night out on the town (not that I take one, but I could!) and my pay blogging covers a decent amount of revenue as well.

Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?

Yes. My children both read my blog daily, and my sibling also knows about it. I do not think my mother knows, but since we have no contact, whether or not she does is of no interest to me. My son has posted on my blog several times, and now has a blog of his own. My daughter likes to read posts about her, and to see what photos I've posted about her. Much of our town's school department also reads my blog. That is a mixed blessing!

What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?

Stay far away from the popular bloggers and build your own traffic by creating good content. Don't count on 'networking' with the popular bloggers in order to build traffic. It will backfire.

And:

Make your content as unique as you are. Don't try to pretend to be someone else. If you're open and honest about who you are, no matter how opinionated you are, you'll eventually find the right audience and will build traffic in an honest fashion.

One more:

Look for bloggers with similar themes to yours, and join their blog carnivals. You'll make better online friends with like people that you will counting on people who are inexplicably popular. Because the popular people won't care if you exist, won't help your traffic, and won't support you if you disagree with them.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Chilihead2 said...

Thanks for participating in the carnival!

11/6/07 12:44 AM  
Blogger Lawanda said...

I love your little "Would it kill ya to comment?" sign on the left! hahaha

11/6/07 8:11 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Very interesting! I'm originally from MA. Thanks for sharing your story!

11/6/07 11:44 AM  
Blogger Deena said...

AMEN! I totally agree with being true to your own voice...if we all wrote the same and sounded the same I would be INCREDIBLY BORED and that would be so sad:-(

Thanks for your transparency in this post...I'm glad I found you!

11/6/07 1:37 PM  
Blogger ashley@twentysixcats said...

My hubby's from Massachusetts too. :-) I think that's great that you have become a respected voice in local politics!

11/6/07 5:39 PM  
Blogger Awesome Mom said...

Amen to not pandering to the "popular" bloggers. I stay very far away from them. I am glad that you have been able to find your own voice.

11/6/07 6:17 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

It's good to hear that you feel comfortable with your voice. Don't feel married to it either. You should be able to write whatever you want, even if it about something inconsequential.

11/6/07 7:29 PM  
Blogger Clemntine said...

I really appreciate your advice at the end. All of your answers are very insightful and informative. Thank you.

11/6/07 11:27 PM  

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