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Wednesday
Jun012011

A WordCount Blogathon Wrapup #blog2011

I completed the 2011 WordCount Blogathon yesterday, thank goodness!

Today, participants are sharing “what we liked, what he hated and what we learned from blogging every day in May” during a live Twitter chat hosted by the organizer of this blogathon. The organizer also listed five questions for participants to answer during the Twitter chat but I am sharing these things with Madlab Post readers here on the blog for a more in-depth view of blogathon experiences in the past few weeks. Here are my thoughts on the WordCount Blogathon.

Q1: What was your favorite part of the blogathon?

My favorite part of the blogathon was meeting three bloggers who were each influential to my continued participation in the event. They include Tara at Two Hands and a Roadmap, whose assistance with a lot of technical issues and communication problems with the WordCount group at the beginning of the month is very much appreciated. Tara also provided inspiration for getting posts up quick when she created ‘Fake it Fridays,’ which I used on days when I either did not have time, topic ideas to write about or motivation to blog.

Anyes at Far Away in the Sunshine was a pleasure to meet during the blogathon and collaborate with on Day 16 when we wrote Guest Posts for each others blog. She takes an uplifting approach to blogging with the topics that she chooses to write about and the beautiful photos that are published on her blog to accompany many of the posts.

While her participation in the blogathon came to a halt later in May due to being sick, Rashida at Books, Bass and Beauty is a blogger that I was glad to meet because she caused me to pay more attention to urban fiction than I normally would. Even though I may still not purchase any books in that genre, I can understand how all of the outrageous drama makes them an entertaining read for audiences who enjoy them.

Q2: What was your least favorite part of the blogathon?

My least favorite part of the blogathon was the lack of community sense among participants in this event. As far as I know, none of the participants (with the exception of my fave 3, of course) visited my blog or communicated with me on Twitter nor did they respond to my comments when I read their posts.

The Google Group setup for the WordCount blogathon was also more aggravation than anything else because I could not access it for almost two weeks into the month of May and when I did, there wasn’t much of a fun or useful atmosphere. I felt isolated during this blogathon and if it weren’t for this blog already being active and having regular readers that I already knew before May, I probably would’ve been very disappointed in my blogging efforts.

Q3: What did you learn about blogging?

I learned that most of the time, you get out of blogging what you put in it. After considering to remove my participation in the WordCount blogathon due to several factors that made it relatively unpleasant, I decided to use it as motivation for me to place my blog in a position to launch other media projects that I’m developing and to also obtain other writing opportunities. I’m not surprised that I had to make connections with bloggers on my own because that is something that has to be done on any given day throughout the year anyway, whether participating in a group event or not.

What I am disappointed by, however, is the fact that the WordCount Blogathon was a waste of time in some respects for me.....all of the tweeting, visiting blogs that don’t seem to be interested in connecting with me and messing around with Google Groups could have been spent reading blogs and communicating with other bloggers who were not in the blogathon, that I have missed in the last few weeks. My connections with Tara, Anyes and Rashida were no accident.....they probably would not have known that my blog even existed if I had not commented on their blogs or reached out to them. That goes to show that sometimes, you have to make something happen instead of waiting for things to happen.

If I never contacted Anyes, I probably wouldn’t have had a guest post for Day 16.....well actually, I would have but I wanted to work with her because I like reading her blog and knew that she was also participating in the WordCount Blogathon. If that did not work out, I probably would have asked Cindy to write another guest post for this blog or asked Lindsay Maddox if we could exchange blog posts.....so I would’ve got it done even if I had to go outside of the WordCount Blogathon to do it.

However, that to me kind of defeats the whole purpose of a group or community experience and the purpose of meeting new bloggers, which seems to be what the WordCount Blogathon is all about. Then again, I guess that does not apply to me because of the isolation factor that I had to deal with during the blogathon.

This brings me to another lesson, which is that I learned the importance of finding alternative ways of getting new readers, connecting with other bloggers and also writing blog posts. After experiencing some difficulty in coming up with a post to write about Johnny Depp for his last King Dong post this month, I traveled to a shopping district and spoke to strangers about the actor. This not only gave me something to write about but also became a way to introduce my blog to potential readers who may visit or recommend it to their friends.

Q4: What blogging software or apps do you want to know more about?
I do not want to know more about any blogging software or apps because I don’t utilize these tools much and have no need for them at the moment.

Q5: What should we add or do differently next time?

Next time, it would be nice if the WordCount Blogathon organizer or organizers interacted with most or all of their participants rather than a small group of them because doing so reflects on the quality of leadership and morale among participants, collectively.

It would also be nice if there were improved efforts to ensure that new participants have all of the tools and resources necessary to have the best experience possible, especially when these participants are expected to utilize third-party services such as Google Groups to communicate with fellow participants. This is my first time participating in the WordCount Blogathon and based on my first impression of the event, I doubt that I would be interested in participating in this blogathon again in the future.

Though not live and not on Twitter, these questions and answers conclude my contribution to the WordCount blogathon chat.

Would I recommend the blogathon to others? No. However, that does not mean you shouldn’t participate if you are reading this and may be interested in the blogathon, because you may have a different and better experience. In fact, there are other bloggers who enjoy it and champion it so while I’m not a big fan of the event, I also do not recommend that you use my wrapup post as the sole basis for your decision for joining or not joining the blogathon.

I can name a few bloggers who could give you a more favorable analysis of the blogathon, including some of the ones that I mentioned in this post, so the WordCount Blogathon may be just what you need to jump start your blog on the path to success, whatever that means. You never know until you try, so consider my account as just an example of the fact that.....as the old saying goes......all that glitters ain’t gold!

There is no one-size-fits all event, service, product, etc. for everyone in the world. I like “The Good Wife” on CBS and "24" that was on FOX but there are also other people who can’t stand those TV shows, so there you go. To each, his own!

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Reader Comments (4)

I'm sorry that your experience wasn't a good one, especially since I spent a lot of time at the beginning of the month answering your questions and making sure that you understood how to use the Google Group, etc. I will definitely take your concerns into consideration when planning the next event. Until then, as you started, there are other blogging challenges out there, all of them a little different and maybe you'll find one that's a better fit.

Michelle Rafter

June 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle Rafter

Hi Michelle,

Thanks for reading this post. I agree and appreciate that you answered some of my questions but that occurred after several attempts that I made at trying to get clarification on key aspects within the blogathon that were confusing. Most of my initial efforts and questions were ignored and I ended up having to get help from a fellow blogathon participant. It all served as a lesson learned for me, which is a good thing that I believe is an upside to these experiences and all is not lost. I hope that other bloggers have found their blogathon experience to be beneficial and rewarding.

June 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

This sounds like an awesome experience. I wish I had time to participate in things like this. It can be tough to carve out 90 minutes each day to blog what with work, the toddler, and work, the toddler, et al.... I really wish I had more hours in the day to participate.

Would you know if there's a less demanding sort of communal blogging event online? Perhaps run during the weekends?

June 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHermanTurnip

Herman,

It's understandable how work and the toddler can leave little room to blog, especially when you have to eat and sleep as well. If I was a parent, I probably would blog less often than I do right now.

There is one less demanding blogging event that I know of...probably lots of them but the only one that I am familiar with is the new Group Blogging Experience (GBE 2) that I just started participating in last week. It runs weekly instead of daily and you have to blog your interpretation of the topic of the week.

There doesn't seem to be a set month or week or anything where you have to start and finish, so this may fit in line with your schedule. You from each Monday to Saturday to blog about the current topic, as there is a new topic posted every Sunday.

Beth at http://www.word-nerd-speaks.com/ is the host of this GBE 2 thing, so go there and read her blog post that is Dated for Tuesday, May 31, 2011 (It has a big yellow photo with a smiley face on it that says "blog happy") and you can get all the details for how to participate in the GBE 2.

....hope this helps. If you need any further info on this, let me know and I will help you along as best as I can or you can contact her if you want :)

Happy Blogging Herman!

June 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

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