How to engage with fellow bloggers? Part 1

Why Are You Following Our Blog was the title of an article I posted here over 2 years ago in which I traced how I had changed our blog focus over the years from being about our education aid work in Nepal, to sharing our globetrotting travel adventures, and then onto wine tasting, collecting and visiting wine regions. Probably like many other bloggers I compared the number of followers with the number of readers of a post, the number of likes and the number of comments about a post, and found the usual tapering off to get only 1% of followers who commented. At that time I had about 300 followers, today I have closer to 1100 as I focus mostly on wine, but the usual tapering still exists, maybe even worse! 

When I wrote that article I said that it made me reflect on why I blogged about anything, because realising that you are posting into an echo chamber is not a pleasant thought. But it also made me think about WHY I was blogging at all! It struck me that I enjoyed writing and that in a way it was a shared personal diary instead of being a daily journal that nobody ever saw. Since then I have spent a lot of time tracing back several generations of my ancestors, visiting where they lived, researching the social history of the times they lived in, taken a genealogy course, had a dna test to trace ancestors, and blogged about all of it. It’s my record! This prompted me to follow this with a series of posts entitled Ego Integrity in which I looked back across my whole life of 72 years using Erik Erikson’s 8 stages of psychological development.  This helped me as a template to understand how I had “grown” as a human being. This was earlier this year, 2020, and it then acted as a trigger to write a book about a 10 year episode of my life in which I worked hand in glove with my wife, Dr C, attempting to transform the primary education system in Nepal. It wasn’t a long book, only about 70 pages and published on Amazon as a kindle edition, An Englishman In Nepal

Writing that book was a heck of a learning experience, I have always been a bit of a “learning machine”, full of curiosity, always trying new things. Our staff in Nepal would run for cover whenever they heard me say “I have an idea ….”! Anyway I even blogged about what I learned from writing that book so I won’t repeat it here, take a look at The Learning of a Novice Author . But as we all know, one thing leads to another quite often and the experience I gained from writing that first book made me consider writing another about ………….. wine, although it’s called ………. It’s Not About The Wine! My first step was to trawl through all of my wine blog posts, rather a lot, from which I realised that I rarely wrote tasting notes but instead wrote on many things connected WITH wine such as history, places, people, science, philosophy and occasionally with art. Hence the book title. But I also was reminded of something else, that my best follower, commenter and often a collaborator in sharing posts, writing for each other, and even helping to buy specific wines was Danell Nelson who blogs at Vinthropology

Danell is an American, a qualified sommelier living in Italy, also trained in Art and Dance and who studied for her degree in London. Her blog posts are very different from my own, partly because she is professionally trained in wine tasting so detects and discriminates far more aromas and tastes than myself, but also because of her aesthetic related education and experience. I find her artistic drawings/watercolour paintings extremely interesting as a mode of describing a wine instead of or along with a verbal description. It interests me as a wino naturally, but also as a psychologist. Is a visual sensory stimulus better than something verbal to describe a different sensory experience? So can a picture convey a sense of taste? Is it a personal preference issue such as personality? Does it have any connection with Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) a theory stating that we each have a preferred mode of communication and understanding via Visual, Auditory or Emotional  stimuli. I re-read a number of posts made by Danell and myself over the last couple of years and realised just how much we had commented on each other’s posts with a steady stream of banter, agreement, disagreement, sharing ideas, encouragement and advice, but never “argument”. This led me to contact Danell about my new book and ask for her advice and help. She agreed, and we’ve had a heck of a time in recent weeks collaborating on a chapter, designing artwork for chapter headings, designing a book cover and then wrestling with the vagaries of Amazon publishing. The book was published yesterday on November 30th and we probably BOTH breathed a huge sigh of relief …… before we start collaborating in building Danell’s wine club business! 

Now, this brings me back to the beginning, why do any of us blog in the first place, what do we hope to gain and how can we achieve it? My recent experience with Danell has given me some answers to this which I will share in a few days …… I need to get my thoughts in order. While you’re eagerly awaiting these answers have a look at Danell’s posts about her own experience of our collaboration starting here with Designing a Book Cover: Act 1.  In summary my post is all about building a blog community which, I must admit, I haven’t been very good at. I have asked myself some questions that you might like to ask yourselves too:

  1. Why do I write a blog?
  2. Why do people follow my blog?
  3. Why do some people “engage” and others don’t?
  4. What caused the “engagement” between Vinthropology and myself?
  5. What sustains it?

To help my thinking about blogger collaboration I would be very interested to hear your own thoughts, do you have regular commenters and collaborators on your blog, what led to the collaboration, how do you sustain it, why does it work?

 



Categories: Wine

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14 replies

  1. Reblogged this on Vinthropology and commented:
    I’ve written previously about my collaboration with Dr. B on his new book, “It’s Not About The Wine!”, now available on Amazon, but I wrote mostly about the creative process of doing the art work. Brian has written a wonderful post on our collaboration which was born out of our mutual engagement on each other’s blogs. He asks thought-provoking questions about why people blog and how to engage with other bloggers. Please go have a read…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your reply Buddy …… and for getting to the bottom of my post 👍 Your views on the answers to 1&2 are the same as mine and in a way it’s good to find that someone else is experiencing the same things. The answers to 3,4,5 are harder to find, I know that you don’t know the blogger at Vinthropology and myself which makes 4&5 harder still to answer, but you probably have some people who follow you and engage very closely with you that might give a clue. I think I know the answer in my case and it took some working out to realise I had been just wasting my time with a lot of other bloggers. I’m writing the post on that now and will probably post it on Monday.

    Like

  3. 1. it is really for me to get things in my head out of my head and to share my photos.
    2. my guess is they like the things i post. but i feel many are just following to get me to follow them back as they are collectors of followers. i dont follow just because someone follows me. i see many blogs have LOTS of followers, but the “likes and comments” are not even close to the number of followers. also i will check out those who follow, like or comment to see their content to see if their blog has something of interest to me. i find many are not regular bloggers and i have followers that have not posted in YEARS or have not liked or commented on any of my posts in YEARS.
    3. i have no clue
    4. ??
    5.??

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Best follower!🥳🤣 Excellent post, you’ve given me a lot to think about. I can certainly relate to wondering why you should be blogging at all if no one seems to be engaging, wanting to connect with others seems a big part of doing a blog. But then again, I can see that you’ve done so much over the years and your blog was the outlet to do it. Do you think you would have still explored and learnt about all those things without having a blog to write about it? I think it’s also true that when you’re thinking about how to move forward and get better, it’s easy to forget everything you already have done. You’ve encouraged me to look back as well and take stalk. If I think about why I started, it was because, like you, I simply enjoyed writing and I wanted to do more of it. But then it seems, at least for me, after you put your writing out there, you want some sense of a reward or acknowledgement which is hard to come by. So why have we connected? …it’s hard to say. I think this kind of connection may be possible with other followers but the conversation has never really kicked off. I guess that’s largely how I see us, a conversation that continues to evolve, inspire, provoke…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Danell, as usual I really appreciate your thinking and your words. I think you’re getting close to how/why we have connected. I have been writing part to of this post this morning and I DO know the answer. But …. you’ll have to wait😂. I’ve looked back over several of our running comments and dialogues, and the answer is staring us in the face. But maybe it’s part of my psychology training to analyse stuff in a particular way. You could look back at some on your own posts or try a couple of mine such as https://buddhawalksintoawinebar.blog/2019/01/23/deplorable-wine-tasting-notes-subjective-or-objective/ or one about Epicurus being a Buddhist. Could be enlightening. Tell me what you think and I give you a clue 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Just finished reading our comments on the “deplorable wine tasting notes “ post 🤯 THAT’s a book! …conversations with Dr.B 🤣 It’s evident that we’re discussing a topic with opposing view points and our experiences and knowledge, but what strikes me is that the original post was just the beginning and the conversation that came out of it was the main feature, like the roles of posts and comments had been reversed. Am I close?

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s a very perceptive observation for sure, well done 👍. But …. what does that mean, it’s what happened but ….. what does it mean for engagement? Actually a Discussion with Vinthropology might be a book for YOU!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, that’s what I’m saying! A book by Vinthropology about conversations with Dr. B, with your consent of course. Could be interesting! …what does it mean for engagement? I’ll have to stew over that and get back to you.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Thank goodness, it’s your turn! I’ll sort out the graphics 🤣🤣 But seriously, in general it’s not a bad idea because it costs you nothing and you will learn from it before the big one.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Great, it’s decided then! 😊

          Like

        • Here’s the clue I promised. Consider first the difference between us; female/male, American/British, Italy/England, wine qualified/amateur, young/old, sensory aesthetic/scientific objective, yada yada. Now, what are the similarities between us, look inside ….

          Liked by 1 person

        • Oh, I hate when the answer is so obvious because I always feel like it’s just out of reach (don’t psychoanalyse me 🤣) um, so to start… curiosity, truth seeking, looking deeper, analysing systems and structures, healthy debate, interest in philosophy and how the mind works, search for meaning… am I getting warmer?

          Liked by 1 person

        • As near as perfect makes no difference 👏👏 In general people connect because of their values, it doesn’t matter what or how we write because people who don’t have those things you listed just won’t connect with what we are saying.

          Liked by 1 person

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