Thursday, November 3, 2022

Thoughtful Thursday: Continue with the Blog?

First and foremost, I want to make it clear that this post isn't some lame trolling for compliments. I'm sincerely interested in some honest (even brutally honest) feedback and (hopefully constructive) criticism.

The combination of a few things have caused me to reassess whether to continue with this blog. In no particular order:

  • Google is making some changes that will require me to revamp/rework things
  • Blogger no longer appears to be sending out email notifications to folks that have "subscribed" to this blog (notices of new posts used to be sent out & aren't any longer)
  • As much as I hate to admit it, Facebook is a much more convenient platform to post on - and posts there receive exponentially more feedback & comments than posts here. Unfortunately, there are a lot of folks that will never get on FB - even to follow the Valley Local %^) - and, frankly, if I didn't have the Valley Local FB group I'd likely delete my personal account and interaction with FB entirely.
  • While I continue to maintain the Valley Local website, Google will be shutting down that platform soon so I'll have to rebuild the site somewhere else.
So all together, I'm feeling a lot of headwind. Even the blogs over at Model Railroad Hobbyist (heh, you may not even know that I have a presence there too) have become pretty cumbersome to use, IMO.

Anybody that's done a blog will typically tell you two things: 1) it requires work, and 2) the work is worth it if you're getting responses and feedback. With Blogger no longer sending out email notices, folks need to remember to check in here on their own and - with all the other things competing for time - that can sometimes be a heavy lift. I get it. There are a lot of layout blogs I forget to check in on - especially if those layouts are on FB. It's just easier to subscribe and get the notices pushed to your FB feed.

But if folks aren't checking in & leaving comments/feedback, there's no way to know they're out there. You start to wonder if there's anyone left reading what you're posting & whether your time is better spent doing something else.

So if you're still here and are willing to take the time, let me know - even just to say "hey! I'm still here!" :^) And if you have a little more time, let me know whether the blog is helpful, something you'd like to see continue, or if you're getting your content elsewhere. I've read in a bunch of places that blogs are becoming a thing of the past. Maybe it's time for this one to close up.

As I said at the top - any/all feedback/criticism/suggestions are welcome and will be super helpful in evaluating next steps.

Thanks much for reading this far - and here's hoping you have some fun modeling planned!

17 comments:

  1. HI Chris, I have been lurking on this site for years. I love your modeling and your site. I dont do facebook and would be very disappointed if you vanished. Your site is in my favorites andI I prettymuch look at it everyday . This is the first time I have written a comment. There must be others like me that just like to look and get motivated by your modeling.
    Thanks.... Gary Brown

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  2. Hi Chris, your blog is in my Favorites folder, and i check in 2-3 times a week. i particularly like your musings on topics other than straight modelling - the Ghosts of RR Past, for instance. As a fan of the long-vanished CNE, prior to COVID, there used to be annual bus trips visiting segments of the line each March, before the leaves blossomed. I am always amazed at how much infrastructure still exists for a RR that was abandoned in 1938!
    Alan Lagocki

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  3. Greetings Chris; I must echo the above comments as I too, shy away from Facebook. Your blog also allows me to access "Modeling the SP," Mr. Ted's blog. Understand time is limited, thus do what's best for you...
    K.L. Smith

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  4. Hello Chris, I enjoy your blog, but I found making comments troublesome in the past. I keep Marty McGuirk's blog in my favorites list because his blog tells me when several blogs I like have new content. Whenever yours does, I come read it. Do what's best for you, but I won't do Facebook.
    Jamie Bothwell
    Bethlehem, PA

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  5. Hi Chris, as a long-time blogger, I encourage you to continue blogging, either on Blogger or elsewhere. The problems I have with using Facebook or some other social network as a primary posting site are A) that your "site" could be removed at any time with no recourse (ask many YouTube creators), and B) it won't show up in Internet searches. So many people find me and my content by Google searches that wouldn't find me otherwise.
    In the end, though, do what you feel is right. I know sometimes blogging can feel like shouting into the void. Maybe a change of platform to a Wordpress hosted site might be something to try.

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  7. Chris,
    I know well some issues with blogspot - but it's free and pretty straightforward to use - as long as you don't deviate too much from their canned layouts and formats.
    I get a LOT of views on my primary blog - and I've also noticed a very small percentage of the number of folks who view the blog leave comments. And they're often the same dozen folks or so!
    I can certainly understanding you wanting to have lots of comments and feedback. While I love reading most of the comments and getting feedback, that's not the reason I maintain the blog. I keep the blog as a record of what I did along this model railroading journey. People are more than welcome to come along with me, but I'd still maintain the blog even if no one ever looked at it.
    Regarding Facebook. I have a Facebook page, and through a lot of diligence all I typically see in my FB feed are pictures of trains and Basset Hounds ... which is pretty much all it's good for.

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  8. Chris - mine is another vote for you (and the other RR bloggers I read) to keep writing in whatever format is most convenient to you. In the tweeting era, blogging is sort of long-form journalism and I really appreciate your taking the time to explain your research, modeling, etc. in some detail. Thanks, Mark G.

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  9. Hi Chris, Long time lurker. I hope you continue the blog, as FB and IG do not lend themselves to any extended discussions. For example you never would have written this entry or had anyone read it! By and large they are limited to 'Attaboys'. While I do follow your FB posts, I do follow Marty McGuirk's blog and value the blogs he follows with great interest.

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  10. If you want a personal diary with long posts, use the blog. If you want lots of short posts with immediate feedback, use FB. Personally, I dislike FB and like writing long posts. My blog may be useful for others, but it is MY diary about MY layout first and foremost. FB could never do that.

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  11. Hi Chris, I think you probably answered your own question in your comments and should move your railroads social presence to Facebook. At least it would provide a fourum for instant feedback. Tom Patterson for example does maintain both a blog and FB presence for his CWE and it seems to work well. I enjoy your posts and will certainly continue to follow if you move to Facebook. Cheers! MJ

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  12. Thanks VERY much for all the great & thoughtful comments/feedback. I really appreciate your taking the time to let me know your thoughts about this - especially if you've found it difficult to leave comments in the past. I don't know if there's any way I can make that easier, but I do plan to see if the RSS feed can be fixed at least (seems to be broken). Since I can't be sure all of you will see this response, I'll post a longer one in a new post - but I definitely wanted to let you know asap how much I appreciate your weighing in. Stay tuned!

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  13. Regarding the RSS feed . . . Are any of you having trouble with it? Were any of you getting email notifications and aren't anymore?

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    1. The RSS feed works for me - that's how I know of new posts here and on other blogs.

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  14. I read your Blog every Saturday morning. Please keep it going.

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    1. Thanks Joe! And so you don’t have to wait a whole week… I just did a post that posted today :-)

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  15. Hi Chris. I really appreciate your postings via this blog. I am a Canadian and daily I check George Dutka's White River blog and use his portal to check your current posting (as well as Bernie Kempinski and Marty's) . They are always enjoyable and I have learned lots form you. I also follow your Facebook posts but if I miss a couple days, I get so many FB postings form friends and other subjects of interest I don't always see your FB posts. Thanks for your decision to keep the blog alive.

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