Starting over

Ok, that’s it. As of yesterday, I’m blogging on WordPress and that’s that. I did post links to my first couple of posts but I’m not going to keep doing that, the idea is to keep my blogging life separate from here, so here can be more for chilling out with friends and less for soapboxy stuff. I know I’ve said this before but then I hadn’t really worked out a good system, I had places for specific types of posts but not for everything, so it didn’t work that well. My new blog is an Everything blog – rants, thoughts, ramblings, whatever.

So if you want to keep reading my rants and ramblings, head over there and click the Follow button to subscribe. You don’t have to have a WordPress account – not for subscribing and not for commenting, so don’t be shy. (Well, obviously you’re allowed to be shy if that’s how you want to play it, I’m not going to tell you what to do. All I’m saying is, you can comment there without having to sign up for a WordPress account.)
End of advertising. We now return to our normal schedule. The next programme will be Has Meirav Gone to Sleep Yet, starring Quentin the Penguin.

Why I’m multiplying less and dividing more

I wrote some time ago about some of the issues to do with using Multiply for blogging, and it was soon after this that I came to realise that I needed to shift gear here, to change the way I operate this blog – not to totally stop, but to make this into more of a place where I hang out with friends and less of a soapbox.

Partly it’s to do with relationships. If I use this place as a soapbox, a place to express my opinions about anything and everything (as I did for a while), I feel this can place a large burden on the friendships I have here. Friends out there in “real life” don’t have to hear what I’ve got to say about each and every subject all the time, even my husband doesn’t have to put up with that! I think it might be healthier to separate out my soapbox activities, so those who want to read them can choose to visit my “real blogs” but they won’t get bombarded with that stuff in their Multiply inbox. Other blogging platforms allow you various ways of subscribing to a blog you want to read regularly, and there is always rss, so those who want to keep up to date with my rants can easily do so.

Which leads me to another reason why I prefer to post some of my stuff elsewhere, in places that are specifically designed as blogging platforms (unlike Multiply, which was designed as a social networking site) – those places offer a subscription facility, whereas Multiply insists on a mutual relationship, where if someone wants to get regular updates on my posts in their Multiply inbox the only way to make that happen is if I agree to add that person as a contact, which I refuse to do if I don’t know them and/or am not interested in reading their posts. I won’t compromise my privacy for the sake of a stranger reading my posts – that’s too high a price to pay. (Those of us who hang out in muds know we’ve been begging Multiply for ages to set up a non-mutual relationship type, but so far – nada.)

And the other humungous advantage of places like that (e.g. WordPress or Blogger) is that I have the option to choose to allow outsiders to comment. (Yes, this is another feature some of us have been begging Multiply for.) When I post something here that I want the whole world to read, I can increase exposure by, for instance, tweeting it or linking to it on facebook, but those who visit and read are then faced with the requirement to join Multiply if they want to comment. And yes, joining Multiply is free and easy and you might say, why not – but many people feel they’ve already got accounts on enough different sites and they don’t really want another one. If they’ve never heard of Multiply (and let’s face it, most people haven’t) then what is their incentive? They’d need to feel very strongly about commenting, and so by posting here I’m losing potential comments from those who would have happily said something if there wasn’t this obstacle in their way.

The other issue is that of compartmentalising, which I think can be helpful in attracting more readers. I think the pick ‘n mix approach which I tried here is fine for people who know me/like me/like my style of writing etc – people who are interested in reading whatever I have to say, no matter what the subject, or at least most of what I have to say… But let’s face it, we live in a rather busy world, most people don’t have a lot of time on their hands, so if you come across a blog that isn’t about a particular subject you’re interested in, why would you read it? If it’s about this, that and the other, there’s got to be something about the particular blogger that grabs you enough. And I think it would be a bit arrogant of me (as well as being unrealistic) to assume that many people will feel that way about my writing.

So with that in mind, I’ve been gradually developing a few different blogs, each one with a different kind of agenda. Here’s the way I see it right now (I say right now, because I am still working on it, I don’t feel I’m quite there yet, it’s still in a state of flux):

(Leaving aside my blogging in Hebrew, as it’s not relevant to most people reading this)

  • I’ve set up the Church Laundry blog (on WordPress) to talk about issues that specifically concern Christians – sharing my thoughts about the stuff we do and say and think.
  • Also on WordPress, I’ve got a more general blog where I share mainly stuff I’m learning about life, and also about blogging on WordPress.
  • And there’s one I’ve had on Blogger for ages but first it was mainly cross-posts from here and then for a while there was a glitch with cross-posting so I neglected it, but now I’ve decided to revive it and use it as a place for my thoughts and opinions.
  • Oh, and I’ve tentatively started to tweet.

This is where things are at so far. Like I said, it is still in a state of flux. But hopefully this gives you some idea of what all these different blogs are for, so you can choose if you want to follow any of them. (There is another possibility I’m chewing on, but am not sure yet.)

And hopefully this post can also help you understand at least part of my rationale.

p.s. Another difference between Multiply and those other places is the issue of viewing history. Here on Multiply, if someone visits one of my posts whilst logged in, I see them in my viewing history – which is kind of nice for me but… I think that knowing this can sometimes put people off. I remember how shocked I was when I had just joined Multiply, I didn’t know how things worked yet, I clicked on the headshot of someone who had commented on a friend’s guestbook and the next thing I knew I had a message from her on my own guestbook saying thank you for visiting… it felt creepy. Now that I’m aware of this, I sometimes deliberately log out first before visiting the site of a stranger. Whereas on my WordPress and Blogger blogs, I get statistics but not individual data – the system there will tell me, say, that six people viewed my post titled Chocolate: The Meaning of Life but it won’t tell me who. So unless you choose to comment on something, I don’t know which of my posts you have read. And I feel this is actually a more respectful way of doing things.

Confessions of a blogaholic :)

“how many blogs do you have now?” Meg asked when I posted the link to my new Church Laundry blog.

the thing is, on WordPress it’s so easy to set up new blogs… and they’ve got these really cool themes and widgets and…

but putting aside the creative fun element, there is also the issue of sharing my thoughts in different settings, having some blogs that are more specific in their content so that people who are interested in just that subject will be more likely to read. here on Multiply my blog is very pick-n-mix, it’s me being myself and throwing onto the screen my thoughts and feelings about pretty much anything, and obviously there are people who like this sort of thing but there are also people who are perhaps more busy and/or more focused and are not inclined to waste time on some kind of eclectic mix of this and that. ok, there are tags here which can help you look for just the stuff you’re interested in, but my tag list is pretty long…

so, how many blogs do I have now? there’s my Multiply pick-n-mix blog (my very first blog ever! started it without even knowing what blogging was…); there’s my Blogger blogs, where I’ve mostly cross-posted stuff from here, but also set up a page specifically telling people the Gospel message in my own words; there’s my Israeli blog on Tapuz (an Israeli blogging platform) which is a bit pick-n-mix too; there’s my WordPress blog in Hebrew about stuff to do with words and language (plus an extra one for thoughts on other subjects); and now there’s my WordPress blog in English which I’ve called “church laundry” (plus the little satellite where I chat to myself about other stuff). and there’s the secret WordPress one, which I set up when I desperately needed to offload stuff in a totally anonymous setting.

Multiply is where I landed to start with and liked it and got used to it and it feels like my home on the web. Blogger is a platform I came across through a friend’s blog and so I tried it for myself. It’s ok, it does the job, but somehow it doesn’t thrill me in any way. Tapuz is a specifically Israeli blogging platform, where people mostly blog in Hebrew, and though it is very clunky in lots of ways, it is very good for getting exposure amongst my fellow Israelis. WordPress, however, is pretty wonderful for blogging. And one of the cool things there is that you can easily set up separate blogs for separate purposes – to achieve the equivalent here on Multiply you’d have to either set up a group, or sign up for a whole separate account. But then Multiply was created for a different purpose, it’s not specifically a blogging platform but a social networking site, so the idea was that it would mimic real life relationships – each person with an account representing them and not a whole load of different ones.

(which takes me back to a conversation I had with my niece recently, where we got to talking about the meaning of the term “user” in the context of “user name” or “user ID” – I started out saying that “user” in that context is the person, but then she pointed out that one person can have a whole load of user names… and I thought about my virtual penguin, who has his own account here on Multiply… so I don’t know.)

p.s. two specific things that are missing for me here as a blogger and that make wordpress more attractive: (1) here you have to have a Multiply account to be able to comment, whereas there I’m free to set it the way I want – if I want to allow non-WP people to comment, that’s my call (2) here if you want to keep up to date with my posts you have to either be my contact, or use rss feed; the trouble is, I don’t really want to add total strangers as contacts just so they can keep up with my posts, because it gives them access to private stuff; whereas on WP you can sign up for a subscription and it’s not a mutal relationship. (those of us who frequent the muds group know what I mean…)