On to the answering...
1. How many blogs do you read, and how do you decide what those blogs are going to be? Is it based on content, update schedule, writing style, connection to the blogger, combination of the aforementioned? Do you have tiers of blogs – i.e. some that you read every day, others that you check in with about once a week, others that you read only when you have a lot of time and nothing to do?
Well, let's see. I'm pretty sure I've said it before, but I check in daily with around 30 blogs. How did I decide those blogs? Generally by content and writing style. Update schedule doesn't really bother me, because I see when everyone updates on my homepage. If someone goes for a long time without updating, it just means I don't click on his or her link, 'cause I know there's nothing new there. If people update every day, that's fine, because I'm checking in every day anyway. There are some bloggers I initially started reading because they were connected to me or someone close to me, but I realized that if I wasn't interested in at least one of content or writing style, I couldn't handle reading for long. So I pretty much have to be engaged by content, writing style, or both to keep reading.
I do have "tiers" of blogs, so to speak, organized by the tabs on my homepage. First tab is people I actually know and/or consider friends. If I had no time for anything else but a quick glance through, these are the first ones I would take the time to read. Second tab is bloggers I most adore and admire, and generally have been reading for long enough that I know they have staying power (both in their own writing and in holding my interest). Third tab is more recent additions whom I like, but to whom I am not necessarily emotionally attached (yet). Generally I still have enough time that I can check in with them all on a daily basis, but if that changes, third tab is the first to go. (And no, I won't tell you what tab you're on. Don't even ask.)
2. Of these blogs you read, how do you decide when and where to comment? Are there blogs on which you always comment? On which you never comment? On which you comment if you feel particularly compelled by the topic? Do you feel obligated to comment on any blogs? Do you ever shy away from commenting, even if you feel you have something to say?
This has been a tougher one for me lately. I used to almost always comment. Except in cases where I really just couldn't think of anything to say, I would leave some sort of comment. Lately, I've been much more likely to say that unless something jumps immediately to mind as the perfect response to a post, I won't comment. It's just time-consuming, and I have a tendency to feel like my comments don't really make much of a difference most of the time. I'm sure that's not true, though, because I bet most of the bloggers I read like getting comments just like I do, so even if I feel like my comments are stupid, they probably like them anyway.
There are a few blogs where I always comment - Aly's and Sassy's, for example. There are only one or two blogs where I never comment. As I said above, lately I've been commenting only when I'm compelled by the post topic, but I'm hoping to get better about that. I would say that I might feel obligated to comment on some blogs, but they're also generally the blogs I most want to comment on, so I don't really think of it much. And yes, there are blogs on which I don't comment, even when I want to - sometimes because of my relationship with the author, sometimes because I'm just too shy to say anything in that forum. It's rare, though.
3. If you are a blogger yourself, do you link to other blogs, either in your sidebar or in a blogroll somewhere? If not, why not? If so, how do you decide which blogs go in that list? Do you put all blogs you read in there? Do you put your favorite ten in there? Do you put all blogs you ever have read in there? How often do you add people to it? When was the last time it was updated, and what prompted the update?
I do, as you can all see. Up until recently, I generally kept the list as all the blogs I read - the ones on my homepage. There are some blogs I check in with occasionally that are not on the list, and there are some I've recently added that haven't been put on the list yet. I've been wondering lately, though, if maybe I should cut it down a bit. I generally don't add someone to it until I've been reading them for at least a few weeks - maybe 5-10 posts or so - and added them to my homepage. However, I do tend to add anyone I add to my homepage, which is why the list is getting longer and longer. The last time it was updated was with Bryan's blog, and it was prompted by my excitement at the fact that he'd started a new blog.
4. Again, if you’re a blogger, how do you actually blog? Do you draft them directly into the Blogger page, or do you draft them in a word processor first? Do you keep a list of potential posts somewhere for ideas? Do you draft posts and keep them for a rainy day or do you put them up right away? Do you keep stats on past posts? Do you file your past posts anywhere? Do you keep stats on comments? Am I the only truly crazy one among us who does all of this?
I've talked about this a bit before, but for those who don't want to delve into the archives, I'll summarize the current system. First of all, I have a small notebook I keep in my purse at all times, so that when I get an idea, I can write it down. I get ideas in strange places and at strange times, so it's good to have someplace where I can write them down right away.
On my computer, I have a Notepad file of notes on potential posts. They used to be more organized, by length and/or seriousness of post, but now they're all sort of mixed together. Also on that list are all the books I'm doing for SaBloBoMo, so that I can keep track of which ones I've already done (I did this with the shoes for LaBloShoeMo, too). When I'm not sure what to write about, I generally go to my Notepad file and browse around until I find something. Often, I'll see something and be like, "Oh, that's a good idea!" because I'd actually forgotten it until I saw it on the screen. Yes, I have that many ideas that never get posted.
I draft posts in a Word document before they go into Blogger. It's easier to manipulate, and more trustworthy, in my opinion. From there, I paste them into the Blogger post field, and I do all the linking and photo adding there. Once the post is published, I delete it from the Drafts.doc - the Drafts.doc is literally only for temporary storage. After publishing, I update the monthly Word file (so the current one is 1 - January.doc) by copying and pasting the post from the internet to Word. (How bored are you right now?) Word files are organized by month, as I said, but all the monthly files from last year are also in a separate "2006" folder.
In addition to updating the monthly post files, I update my Excel spreadsheet. The spreadsheet lists each post with
- Date posted
- Title of post
- Length of post (number of screens)
- Labels for post
- Number of images
- Number of comments
- Summary of post
Incidentally, I also keep my "Blogging Goals" on the spreadsheet (I'm not sure why, that's just where I happened to put them). Yes, I still have some, though getting the Perfect Post was pretty darn grand. I have other grand goals in mind as well.
Oh, and do I draft posts and then save them? These days, I tend to draft all the posts for the week during the weekend. It's the only way I can keep up the daily posting for now. Soon, I'm not even sure I'll be able to do that much, but we'll see. But yes, I do draft posts, get them all ready for publication, and then wait, sometimes for days at a time, before hitting "Publish."
Okay, I'm crazy. I know it. You can all mock me now. Or you can steal my brilliant organizational ideas. Whichever you prefer.
Day 19 of SaBloBoMo: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
I'd heard so many great things about this book from so many people, and yet I never read it until I had to teach it. Boy, was I missing out. What a great book. I really enjoyed it, and ever since reading it, I've intended to read some of the other books in the series, but have sadly never gotten around to it. It was a great book for studying persuasive language and manipulation of power relationships, which is a theme rampant throughout literature as a whole. But because the characters are so young, young students are able to relate to it in a way that they can't with a lot of other books with similar themes. Plus, it has exciting moments, and the kids get enthusiastic about fun books (as opposed to the boring memoirs and stuff). It's quick and relatively mindless reading, highly recommended for a lazy weekend.