Thoughts on Instagram

I have recently started using Instagram, actually after a webinar I watched at work where the librarians were talking about what a great social media space it was. They had a lot of success with being found, with getting constant interactions on posts, and with being able to ask questions and get answers. Well, that all sounded pretty good. So I gave it a look.

So far I have really enjoyed Instagram. It doesn’t get spammed to the extent that something like Tumblr does, so I can in a few minutes scroll through and see everything that’s posted for the day. It’s visual like Tumblr is, though, so it’s easier and better for scrolling through and checking out on the fly than I have found Twitter or the WordPress Reader to be.

How do they pull this off? Well, for starters, there’s no sharing. At least, not that I’ve figured out yet – I do see the occasional “re-gram” with a little share symbol and username in the corner of the image. Not sure how that’s done, but it’s pretty rare. Unlike a space like Tumblr, where sharing is the majority of the activity. You can like and comment, both of which being closest to something like Facebook in terms of use and visibility. However, some things in posts or comments don’t work – like websites. No hyperlink. So it discourages going in and linkdumping – unlike Twitter, where that’s almost the whole deal.

So it’s a visual space that’s there for others to experience and interact with. And really, I’ve had more success there with interaction than on other social media accounts. Things on the Facebook Page almost never get seen. Tweets rarely get any likes or shares. Tumblr doesn’t see much action. Indeed, in a couple of months I have as many Instagram followers as Tumblr followers, and the latter account is over a year older. In other words, it ended up really being what was advertised to me: a fun space with good interaction.

So let me run down a couple of things I have discovered regarding how Instagram plays with my whole suite of other social media accounts, to give you a more complete picture of how it works!

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Meme Monday 9 – Mood

Gurney Halleck on Mood

I guess this one is kind of a slap in my own face, but I’ve been having trouble finding the mood or the time for writing. So here’s a little Dune for fun… I still love casting Patrick Stewart as what was supposed to be the ugliest man alive…

I think I will probably be a bit yet before I get more writing posts up. My thought is to get myself a bit of a backlog, write a few without needing to post them, and then get them posted. I tried diving in facefirst, and that hasn’t paid off. Now for some caution.

In the mean time, I have re-done my pages on My Writing Projects and My Blogging Projects – representative now of my new projects, and to go along with my new Features page. So I’ll just work on keeping all of that content flowing!

What to do about Mondays?

I ran this poll in a post recently, but I thought I would highlight it and see if I could get more responses. Please vote if you are interested!

I think that Meme Monday is not going very far. It does not get many views, or likes, or comments. The memes, once shared on Tumblr, tend not to go very far (though a few have gotten a few likes and reblogs). Overall, it’s work for not much result. And I have succeeded at the initial test with my Features: I have worked them into my weekly flow, I have increased the number of posts on the site, and people are reading/viewing/interacting with the posts.

Well, especially the Wednesday post, anyway.

So I am thinking a new Feature for Monday, thus the poll! Let me know what you would like to see from the blog, here, and I’ll see what I can’t do to deliver!

One Month of Features – Thoughts!

Yesterday I talked about the stats difference from doing Features on a regular basis. As these things go, when you post more frequently, you get more views! It’s like science.

However, I have some more direct learning and thoughts after a month worth of Features. Even if the stats say “doing features is good!” what does that really mean – and do I need to keep up with these same features? A few questions to consider!

Learning More about WordPress

So the first thing that really happened when I started to work on setting up Features was that I started learning more about WordPress. I found a couple of things in particular. One is a setting that makes it so people can like and share posts directly from the Home Page/Archives Scroll. For the Photo Blogging I have been doing, this is a big step, I think – there is no reason someone really needs to click into these posts; they can read and/or see everything from the home page.

I considered this when it comes to Comparative Geeks, as well. However, while we have been writing a bit of shorter posts lately (after what we learned in the A to Z Challenge), most of them still use the “More” separator, to keep the home page from being massive, to hide spoilers, and just generally because it’s how we write and present our posts. So people need to click into them to get the whole thing anyway – so the liking and interacting can all be “hidden” there, without it being troublesome. But with these simple photo posts, no reason to add steps!

Another thing I have found out is that Tweets with line breaks don’t get picked up in the feed on WordPress, so most of my Six Word Story posts haven’t shown up here. So I probably shouldn’t post them like this:


The other thing I learned is that there is a Screen Options menu, hidden away on every post you work on!

Screen Options

If, like me, you’ve never noticed/clicked that before, give it a go! Here you can pick which additional menus or options you have to work with, below your post. For instance, you can write a custom Excerpt for the WordPress Reader or RSS feeds – something I have seen other blogs do, but had no idea how to do myself! It also includes the options for manually turning comments, trackbacks and pingbacks, etc. on and off. Or for choosing who the author on a post is! So many options! That I had no idea about. Fellow WordPress bloggers: give this a look!

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One Month of Features – Stats!

As is my wont, now that I have experimented with something, it’s time to consider it! What has the blog looked like because of features? Let’s look at the stats!

Blog views for the past month, by day.

Blog views for the past month, by day.

Okay, so there have been daily visitors, with peaks for original content – the first one is Introducing Features, the next one is my first feature post, and then the big spike in later June is the Writing Process Blog Tour. The day with no views was 4th of July weekend, and was a day when I did not post anything. Since then, a few a day.

The other thing those stats show is that this is a really small blog – incredibly low view count in general. So having features has accomplished a few things. First, it’s given a reason for people to check out the site on a more consistent basis. But second, it has me actually creating and putting things here – the first step, really, to having more engagement in general with the blog. So really, I think these stats show the picture much better:

Average blog visitors per day.

Average blog visitors per day.

This shows that this really has been a pretty uneventful blog. Then I did the A to Z Challenge in April and that spiked things considerably! In an effort to not waste the connections formed during the challenge or the momentum gained, I think the features are a good way to keep this blog alive and moving forward! And the best thing to see is that, with features kicking in there in June, you can see that there is a more steady number of visitors per day than the blog has seen before – even if it’s only a handful of people per day!

One part of this also is that the posts are so short that people might be taking them in without visiting the site – which is fine! – but that means that some of the likes and views aren’t showing up in the stats, but people are still experiencing the content! I think this is just going to be an effect of photo blogging. In my experience already, there are posts that get interaction (likes) through the reader because of pictures – without generating views. At least with these, there isn’t any content being “missed” because of this effect!

Okay, so those are some of the quantitative aspects of what Features have done for the blog! Tomorrow, I’ll be considering some of the qualitative aspects – what have features done for me? What have people liked? These sorts of things! But for now, let me know what you think of the Features I’ve been doing! Have you been stopping by here more? What would you like to see? Let me know!

Introducing Features

I shared a post the other day that has really inspired me on figuring out my content here on DBCII. It’s perhaps unsurprising that the idea came from Gene’O, of The Writing Catalog, as he is someone who blogs similarly to how I do.

The idea presented, and one I see a lot in reading blogs, is features. Posts that you can just expect to see, daily, or weekly. As a creator, they help you know what content you’ll need to create, to keep your blog going. As a reader, they help you expect what you’ll see, let you know to come back for more later when you find something you like.

Gene’O lists a number of features on Sourcerer that they run, but I thought I would note a few of my other favorites. On Love Pirate’s Ship’s Log, there’s a quote of the day. I love them – generally a picture from a movie or TV episode, and then a few lines of quote. They just make me stop and smile as I skim through my WordPress reader. Another favorite is the Box Office Top 10 on We Minored in Film, which just fill me with joy each week as I read it.

I see other features, such as episode recaps and reviews of popular shows, or Wednesday New Comics (it’s nice that most all new comics come out on one day, for the purpose of blogging about it!). These are the sorts of features we might consider on Comparative Geeks, but at the same time, because others are doing it, we want to leave it to them. Because we do so little content, as it were – with just our 6 posts a week – features would eat up a lot of that.

Also, it would force us to keep up with shows or reading comics or whatever we chose – which is against what we’re doing with the blog. We are writing for the joy of it, for the thought and sharing, and forcing timelines like that on ourselves would not be great. The closest we get is our ongoing LitFlix – where we read the book/comics and then see the movie.

And we have other ongoing series, like Science Fiction Today, Character Studies, or Science Fiction and Religion, but we don’t follow a schedule on those… it’s more like we try to do at least one of those a month. We could try to make these a scheduled feature, but they’re more of just an ongoing series, and for a blog, those are good too.

So let me introduce the features I am planning on here! Read more of this post

Efficient Blogging: The Power of Features (The Sunday Re-Blog)

Doubling up today on Re-Blogs for reasons that will soon become apparent. This post has really inspired me, and I’ve been thinking about ways it applies. I think the answer is: it apples here on DBCII. Expect some features to come!


One thing six months of blogging has taught me is that, if your goal is to update a blog every day, you have to find ways to create posts that don’t take a lot of time. If you’re blogging to attract a readership (and not everyone is, but I am), you’re investing words and time in your blog and hoping for a return in reads and engagement. So when I talk about efficiency, I’m asking a question:

How can I produce a post that’s good — one people will actually like — and do it as quickly as possible?

Before I go any further, let me just say: I don’t believe it’s necessary to post every day to have a successful blog. It’s much more important to produce quality work, and to find ways of bringing it to the attention of goodwriter memepeople who are interested in whatever you’re blogging about…

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