Monday, May 16, 2005

Market Research Consumer Survey Type Thing

Why are you here?

By that, I don’t mean why are you here on this planet, living, breathing, existing, procreating, dying, reincarnating etc. (because we’ve all watched “The X-Files” and understand the origin of our species, right?) but rather why are you here at this moment, on this web page reading these words that I typed? The answer may fall somewhere in the category of “don’t get out enough” but I’m looking for a bit more detail than that.

It’s endlessly fascinating to me (and that in itself should tell you how deep I’m into the “don’t get out enough” category) as to why people start blogs, how they promote them (if at all) and how other people discover and read what they’ve written.

My guess is that the vast majority of bloggers start up a blog (the personal, journal type blogs) because they just want to type something. It’s easy, it’s liberating, it’s modern and it’s free, not counting the monthly internet provider subscription and the medical bills for all the RSI treatment. But here’s the thing. What good is writing something in a public medium if no-one ever reads it? Are you typing stuff for you or for other people?

My experience (and I’d be interested to find out if anyone agrees) is that even the most private, anonymous and deeply personal blogs are crying out (sometimes literally) to be read, and not only read but acknowledged as read.

I like to get a little crazy at times and wantonly hit the “Next Blog” button to see where it’ll take me - a bit like Jodie Foster’s journey in “Contact” – or I’ll click on a link on another blog but I rarely feel the urge/have the energy to linger very long in one place or leave a comment. Sometimes all the button-hitting and clicking bring me full circle to the place I started which then makes me think that the blogging community isn’t as big as is often stated. Maybe there’s only about a dozen of us out there?

Anyway, my point (and I did have one I think when I started this) was to try and understand how it is that you came to be reading this… if you haven’t already clicked on “Next Blog” about two or three paragraphs ago. If you have the time and/or energy and/or inclination, could you peruse the options below and leave a little comment (the corresponding option number would do) to let me better understand.

As an incentive for your time and effort, all feedbackers and commenters, anonymous or otherwise, will go into a little wooly hat for the chance of winning a stunning and unique prize yet to be acquired or indeed, assembled using sticky back plastic and a Fairy Liquid bottle. So here we go…

Dear Neil, I am here reading these words what you typed because…

1. I am your oldest friend and bass player in The Signals and it was my idea that you start this blog thingy in the first place.

2. I am a member of your immediate family and you told me I had to visit this site every day, or else.

3. I used to work/drink/play golf/go to school/go on holiday with you and every time I hear from you, you bore the tits off me telling me I should read your blog.

4. I used to go out with you but you keep pestering me so I check this blog in the hope that you’ve disappeared/been arrested/turned out to be gay.

5. I met you on your travels and you told me you were a famous and talented writer but I’ve yet to see any evidence supporting this claim.

6. I saw you leave a comment on someone else’s blog in a shameful attempt to try and get me to click on your name and in a moment of weakness I did.

7. I saw your blog linked on a site that I actually do admire and clicked on the link by mistake.

8. I clicked on “Next Blog” and found your site entirely by accident and what a happy day that was.

9. Someone (who is no longer my friend) told me that I just had to check out your witty and wonderful website.

10. Some other quirky twist of fate that you haven’t thought of brought me here. (If you chose option 10, a short explanation would be appreciated. Thanks.)


At 16/5/05 6:50 pm, Blogger DC said...

Dear Neil, blah blah ...




I note with some disappointment that I am the first ( of many hopefully) to comment. Does this make me as sad,or sadder than even you ?


At 17/5/05 4:45 am, Blogger jk said...

Definitely 6, and possiblly 7 for me.

Great questions. Are we typing for ourselves or for other people. I think your right, it likely starts as a personal, quirky, journaling-type endeavor, but then we get addicted to the community--to the affirmation we get when someone--anyone--actually reads our trivial, banal, and inconsequential thoughts that sometimes have personal significance. Then, I think people get addicted to being in a new community, however peculiar. Like you, I'm fascinated with the rather strange, almost contradictory (public-private) phenomenon of blogging. Looking forward to seeing what others have to say.


At 17/5/05 10:30 pm, Blogger carl said...

Dear Neil,

#10, to explain I simple 'googled the word 'kilt' and you appeared. I rather enjoy your articles. I look forward to them as I DON'T get out that much, so thank you. And I've even taken to reading them to my wife, Mary.

As for me and blogging. I write with a couple (or is it 3 reasons in mind...lets find out.) I wanted to relieve my 'artsy-farsty' self by having some sort of outlet. I also enjoy being somewhat authoritative and writing 'real pieces.' Lastly, I love it when someone, such as yourself reads something I've written and does take the time to post a comment.

Yup, that's three alright. It is strange that I have been thinking about the same subject matter. I liked the way you tackled it. Your humor is spot-on once again.

Your Friend,

At 19/5/05 1:38 pm, Anonymous Wee Man said...

3. (sort of) - Used to work with you, didn't go to school or on holiday with you and still drink/play golf with you !!!!!

Also you once "made me an offer I couldn't refuse" and since then I've been too scared not to read things over and over and over ......

At 19/5/05 6:33 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2. While waiting for my shift to end - my surfing pattern usually goes football (arsenal), baseball scores and fixtures (followed by small bet on nights fixtures), news then a quick read of your blog. Always something interesting to read. Last time i looked you made me listen to definitely maybe again.

Cousin Ewen

At 21/5/05 7:48 pm, Blogger Neil said...

Thanks very much for all the the feedback, it makes interesting reading. I'm fairly sure the other hundreds of thousnads of readers must have been called to the phone/told 'Celebrity Love Island' was about to begin just when they were poised to leave thier comment.

Cousin Ewen, you won the random prize draw and I was all ready to send you my home made, washing up bottle F.A. Cup when your team managed to steal one late this afternoon instead... so I'm keeping it for myself and pretending that I've won the Open at St. Andrews.

Cheers to all.

At 22/5/05 3:54 am, Blogger Sierra said...

Okay, I actually have no idea who you are. This is my first time to your blog, and I clicked on it from the "Scotish Blogs" website which I was reading because I read Shauna's What's New, Pussycat? blog occasionally. Anyhow, you were begging for comments, so I thought I'd indulge you. A stranger, but I understand your pain! =)

I typically stick to reading a few of the most popular blogs out there (Dooce, Tony Pierce, Shauna, etc--They are well known for good reason.) and a few of my friends' blogs, but I definitely spend most of my time updating my own blog, which I've been writing for my friends and family for the last 10 months. People have only started posting comments on my blog in the last month or so, but how validating it is, indeed!!

I, too, wonder if anyone comes across my blog by hitting "next blog" and actually sticks around, although I really doubt it because--If you don't know me, I can't imagine my blog would be that interesting. Perhaps I just don't have much blog confidence yet.

Anyway, I'm just crapping on now. Good luck with your research! Sierra

At 22/5/05 2:11 pm, Anonymous Hazel said...

It started for me with an aimless afternoon checking out Friends Reunited for anyone I'd ever heard of, and I found you in there. From there it was just one short hop via your shameless self-advertisement to your other site jobbie, where I saw your pic and thought you looked just as remembered but also slightly as if just out of rehab. Which was strangely endearing in itself. Let's hope no actual truth on the rehab front!

At 22/5/05 4:19 pm, Blogger Neil said...

We didn't call it 'rehab' at my clinic... in fact we didn't call it a 'clinic' either. My counsellor always described it as "a retreat from life in order to refocus, re-energise and rebuild". I managed 10 of the 12 steps in the programme before hopping the electric fence and have never looked back... until now... Christ, I could do with a drink!

At 22/5/05 4:51 pm, Anonymous Hazel said...

Whoops. For the time being I'll just put this down as cheeky Scottish joshing as encountered so frequently (hmm) while up North and hope it's all a joke. Otherwise, profuse apologies for shooting myself in the foot.

At 22/5/05 5:04 pm, Blogger Neil said...

"Shooting myself in the foot.." Ah, those were the days when one tried anything to hide the needle marks. Humour wasn't my only defence mechanism standing in front of all those classes. No seriously, I'm all better now. Incidentally, why no profile on Friends Reunited?

At 23/5/05 4:30 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah they don't let you be nosey anonymously. Anyway those things are all about births and marriages.

At 23/5/05 5:21 pm, Anonymous Hazel said...

Hmm. Seems you can post a comment anonymously though. That wasn't anonymous. That was me.

At 7/6/05 6:41 am, Anonymous Donna, from Dallas (really!) said...

Door #10, please.

I ended up here because I Google'd something, but now I can't remember what it was... a movie quote, possibly. (I'm really not this dense, honestly!) Anyway, I started reading all your posts and was soon adrift in your sea of witty blogs. Actually, I might have given up sooner if not for the 4 Large White Baps entry. Which, come to think of it, sounds like a great name for a band!

At 25/7/08 5:59 am, Blogger mrsderusha said...

I'm the anynomous reader/peeker across the Atlantic and NOT an eskimo. I'm in Texas, Dallas actually.

I found your blog from doing a search on Roddy Frame as an interest. oh, look, here's this devilish handsome man who can whip up a clever sentence or two.

I've been hooked ever since.


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