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answering my own questions

My own answers to Blogger Pride! The blogger survey. Thanks so much to everyone who's gone to the trouble to take the survey.

Ethics/Personal Life:

Has a blog post ever got you into trouble?
Well, when I wrote about my dad he got pretty pissed off and demanded I remove it. Things I knew would cause trouble with specific people I simply left out. I am trying to toe the line between being completely open about my own life, and not hurting anyone.

How many people do you know face-to-face who read your weblog?
Almost everyone I know who gets online has probably seen it at least once when I turned on their computer, opened up a browser window, and bookmarked it. My sister used to read every single post until she (yesterday) moved to Wappinger Falls, New York to practice Buddhism full time. My mom reads, I just found out one of my childhood friends reads...I think about 20 people I know in person check on a semi regular basis.

Have you met any of your regional (or even remote) bloggers?
I have met almost everyone on my Seattle blogger list on the Linklove page. I have also met Jish(happy birthday!), Mena of Dollarshort, and Ben. Some of my absolute closest weblogging buddies live very far away, so I actually went out of my way to make nice with people in my area, and I did not regret it. It hearkens back to the old dial-up BBS days when I use to meet local folks for ice cream and pizza nights, when everyone I met online was local.

Do you modify or delete posts? How often? Why?
I work a post when I first publish that, but after that I'd rather work on a new post than edit an old one. It's not the New York Times for chrissakes.

How much is your weblog a part of your personal identity? Do you feel like people who don't know about your blog don't really know you?
I think it's a fair part of my identity. I have such an exhaustive set of my autobiographical stories on the tinyblog, that people who read it definately know a lot more about my personal history than those who don't. Plus, it's been sort of my foray into branding myself. It was quite a fun experience to pick fonts and colors and visual ideas that I felt reflected what I wanted to express in my writing.

How has blogging changed your life?
I think it's honed my writing. I think I've had a chance to write and explore a lot of autobiographical details. I've made a very cool network of online friends. I learned how to code, partially because of blogging, and had a playground to test my skills, which actually led to paying code work.


Do you know how to code at all? Did you learn how to code by blogging?
I'm relatively proficient in HTML, CSS, PHP, and MySQL. Blogging definately dug me into it. Then I took some classes. Then I got a job doing it. It's very cool.

What weblogging tool do you use and why?
I use Movable Type for many reasons. I was a part of the general conversation when the very idea of making it more than just a tool Ben wrote to manage Mena's weblog into a real application everyone could use. I was one of the alpha testers of MT, and I think I just might have been the first person besides Mena and Ben to install it on a server (with Mena and Ben over my shoulder in AIM).

Other than that, it is an extremely stable, flexible, and good-looking application. I had no idea that it would grow to include the massive feature set that it now does. There are so many things that can be done with it that I will probably never do. God I hope it develops into a serious and profitable career for the two of them.

Does the design seem like something that is just something that has to be dispensed with in order to be able to write publicly, or is your design an integral part of your writing and presentation?
Someone pointed out that this was a pretty convoluted question. I have seen plenty or pretty darn good blogs that use an only slightly modified Movable Type template, but the template itself is pretty damn good. A good design adds to my goodwill and feeling of a site and increases my chances of reading it.

How many times have you changed your weblog design entirely (or nearly so)?
I've changed the external design 3 times, and the code structure twice. The current design works pretty well, and I've stuck with it for quite a long time. I do have an idea and images for a redesign, but I think that's a little while away still.


How many people would you guess (educated guess based on hit counts/logfiles) read your weblog on a weekly basis at least?
I think it fluctuates, and is really hard to guess. Almost no one who answered the survey actually did guess, most of them just recorded their daily hits which means almost nothing. My best educated guess is 30-50 people, which is astoundingly cool.

What have you done to get more people to look at your site?
Trying to write the best stuff I can, and not post when I have nothing to say. When I do my series' that seems to be a draw. I do post in others comments, and generally develop relationships with other bloggers, but I do that mostly because I like other people and like to communicate with them. It does have the side effect of some traffic though. Regular readers are really more important to me than a high number of one-timers, and perhaps even more important than comments and feedback.

Why do I even care? Well, it just increases the value to me personally of writing if there's a reasonable audience to interact with it. If I didn't want people to read it I could have easily used Word or something. The purpose of publishing is readership. It richens the environment, and inspires me to find new stories and tell them with some punch.

What one or two characteristics make a blog really popular? Are there things that you could do to have more people read your weblog that you conciously do not do? Why?
Consistancy, good design, and community involvement. Yes I know that's three. I should have said three. Feel free to add one more if you answered this question and only included two.

What really popular weblog do you think most deserves it...and/or least deserves it?
I can't believe how badly people wussed out on this question. I think Mena, Shauna and Meg have really worked hard for their readership. I personally thought that Wil Wheaton's blog was pretty damn funny back when I read it, and I think the cult-of-personality that formed around him was pretty funny, but I guess I have to still say he's pretty much the least deserving. The Bloggies this year were just pathetic.

How do you feel about your readership? What makes for a quality readership to you?
I am SO appreciative of people who read the tinyblog. I feel like it's a sign of respect, for one thing, and with literally hundreds of thousands of people doing this, for someone to spend a little time each week here is really just an honor. A quality readership is one that reads intelligently. Sometimes that means comments and sometimes it doesn't. Some people have even gone back and read some signifigant quantity of my archives, which always blows me away. That's goddamn quality. Hehehe.

By the way, if you're here for the first time, and never saw the tinyblog before, and this is damn near the only post on the page, the best way to get to know the tinyblog is to have a look at the posts in my favorite, or series' catagories.

Influence of Other Bloggers:

What other blogger is most responsible for you starting your own weblog.
Shauna. I found her weblog and read it before I got hooked into the whole blogging situation in general, and she really planted the seeds of it. Plus, she provided hosting space quite early on, making me her sweeet, sweeet bitch. I am still an honorary bitch to this day.

Who was the first other blogger (that you know of) who put you on their sidebar, and how did you feel? How did it influence your blogging?
It was Pat, who is incredibly supportive to both new bloggers and to the blogging community in general. I was getting ready to quit posting, about a month into it, when Pat put me on his sidebar. I remember thinking...oh, I'm on someone's sidebar...I can't quit posting now.

What other blogger do you most admire for her writing skills?
Some people have suggested it was sexist to use the feminine pronoun here. Perhaps they might also think it is sexist that it is considered grammatically correct to use the masculine pronoun when the gender is unspecific in the english language and is used this way in publications of all types for centuries. So, I don't think it's so sexist.

I thought Dooce is tremendously funny and talented, and was quite crestfallen when she stopped writing under her own name (or anywhere I could find her). There's many others, but I'd like to mention the not-so-often mentioned saigonsam's: The Airman's Mess and dirty chele's: A Small Victory for sheer honest, gritty, true-to-life goodness. I, Asshole used to be a fav, but she's gone now.

What other blogger do you most admire for her design skills?
Actually, it's probably Tom Working. He just has a very cool visual language that I really like. The inline graphic headers in his blog are really just a scream.

Who is a blogger that you think is really good but doesn't get nearly the attention they are worthy of?
Well, Kat over at The Sagbottom Home for Wayward Girls for one, and the Brainlog, which always seems to have something interesting to say.

Do you feel obligated to have people on your link lists/sidebars that you never read?
I guess I should have known that no one would ever admit to this.

What one or two characteristics define a really quality blog (in your humble opinion, of course)?
Consistently doing whatever it does best. I tend to like honesty and a little research as well. Plus pretty pictures.

Bonus Question:

Do you fear The Booge?
Don't be silly. He's just a harmless, mild-mannered little genetic scientist who lives in Canada, with a pretty wife and a young boy who he takes snapshots of. What's to be afraid of? Surely all is as it appears!


Hi! I found your blog through Robyn, and I posted my survey results on my blog if you'd like to come take a peek :)

It's true. You're the first person other than us to have installed Movable Type. If it ever really takes off, you can be the answer to a trivia question :)

Oooh, on the matter of gender inspecific pronouns, there's always singular 'they'. Prescriptionist grammarians tend to say it's wrong, but English speakers have used singular 'they' for many centuries, so it's those prescriptionist grammarians who are wrong :-)

Anyway, an interesting survey...