Sunday, August 9, 2009

Talkinboutcomics - One year anniversary

Roughly a year ago I started this blog. Prior to that I posted pretty frequent comics related posts on my Live Journal. The Live Journal was and remains mostly friends locked these days, although I often didn't protect the comics related posts. I wanted to really try and make a go of having a real blog that was out there for anyone to see, where I could post about things I was reading, or interested in, and encourage discussion, and otherwise interact with others who share my interests, or at least my love of comics. At the time I had been reading a number of other blogs, and decided that I would do this with my normal good natured geeky voice, and not play it overly harsh, or try to come off as something I'm really not... like a scholar of any sort. I would stick to reading everything I could read, and giving my honest opinion (which is inclined to skew on the positive for whatever reason).

I did several things when I first started. I created all of my accounts with more or less standard branding. I made a talkinboutcomics gmail to go with the talkinboutcomics blogger account, and when I eventually got a twitter account I made it talkinboutcomx to stay within the link restriction. I read a lot of other blogs, and tried to comment whenever I had something to say. I consider commenting in that way to be good blogosphere citizenship. That doesn't mean you ever need to comment on anything, but if you have something to add, do so. If someone solicits responses, do so. A hope in the early days is that if people appreciate your point of view, they may track back to your blog. I don't think anyone likes people who obviously comment only to shill their site in the middle of a normal discussion, but I certainly go to the blogs of people whose comments intrigue me.

I watched what other people were doing. I added a stat counter that I saw someone else using. I joined comic blog elite as a way of trying to get my site listed in a place that some people might look. I want people to read my blog, but the existence of my blog and my continued posting are in no way affected by the number of readers I get, or even if no-one ever reads it at all. I have the luxury of that, as my well being and my livelihood are not tied to the relative success of this blog. I do indeed WANT people to read it. I want people to read it, and I would love to meet people at conventions that I have had conversations with online, etc.

I am not the most socially gifted person. I have a great deal of social anxiety, and have tried to use my convention going as a way of muscling myself through it. The blogging is sort of an extension of that. I picked a name that was anonymous enough, and still don't generally through my whole name around. I think a consistent presence is probably more important than my full name, but who knows.

The good thing about this so far, is that it has given me exactly the sort of forum I had wanted. I have had little pieces of my reviews used on the web sites of products I genuinely love, and I consider that pretty cool, even though I understand that it doesn't mean anything beyond that. I have people whose opinions I value, and whose writing I love to read, fairly regularly comment on things I post. I have gotten a free copy or two sent to me to review, and several requests for me to read online material and review it. I do not do this to get anything for free, and I am always straightforward when I get free copies, even though 'the pros' may say that is amateurish. I say it's being honest and straight forward.

If I ever valued the statistics of my stat counter, I can't say that I really value them now. I like to see that my site is getting a steady stream of hits, and I like to see whatever I can divine from the patterns, but mostly that behavior leads to heartache. Once in this past year, I was somehow linked through 'stumbleupon', and that lead to an uncharacteristically high volume of hits. I have also had reviews linked to through Red 5, and through a site related to Supergirl(cait8g). Those returned a lot of looks, as did my blurb about visiting Forbidden Planet in NY which somehow got linked to some travel thing, or something. Truth be told, I think I accidentally figured out how to get a ton of hits, if that is your goal. I would rather get 3 that are reading and sometimes commenting, than 1000 that think they will be able to download a Batman The Brave and the Bold episode from me because I posted episode reviews, or the unending stream of people that come to my blog from a search for pictures of the scantily clad heroine Empowered (awesome and funny, but I don't think those are the qualities these hits are looking for). I also posted a review of a Ghost whisperer comic where all the teen girls were drawn with visibly protruding nipples, and I still get a lot of hits from nipple seekers.

The most recent thing I have done, is reluctantly enter into the world of Twitter. The more I thought about it, the less reluctant I became. My desire to have a Twitter presence started when I saw the little window on people's blogs that showed their recent twitter posts, and intensified when I saw that you could have it tweet a blurb and a link whenever you posted to your blog. I quickly realized that I didn't really want my twitter to show up on my blog. I didn't want someone's first glimpse of my blog to include what might be a seemingly inappropriate, or incomprehensible reply to something they aren't seeing, so I took that off, and don't really miss it. anyone following me on twitter can certainly see every dumb comment I make, and I don't mind that. I am who I am.

All of that said, and all of that aside, I think it has been a pretty good year. I've had fun doing this, and it has helped me to some degree connect with comics and appreciate them even more than I used to. Much of that comes from the flipside of having my own blog, which is reading and appreciating other people's blogs and their insight and opinions regarding comics. In keeping with that thought, I must say that I genuinely appreciate the people who have routinely replied and offered opinions and insight here, especially Eden from Comicsgirl, Sandy from I Love Rob Liefeld, John from Witwar, and the folks at the Inkwell Bookstore blog. If you somehow made it here, and aren't already aware of those 4 very good comics related blogs, you should certainly go check them out.

Thanks for stopping by, feel free to comment any time you'd like. I appreciate what others have to say about all aspects of the comics medium. I hope to keep doing this for as long as I am still reading comics.


Anonymous said...

Happy first Anniversary, Rob! Yours is always a refreshing and welcome perspective on comics and comics-related topics. If you keep writing, we'll all keep reading.

caanantheartboy said...

I felt free, so... ;o)

I always read your posts, Rob. I believe we have similar tastes that sometimes diverge, but mostly converge, so I trust your reviews.

PopGun Contributor said...

Happy Anniversary! I haven't commented before because I didn't want to get you all self-conscious knowing that people you review look at your blog, but I'm a PopGun contributor who's been enjoying your exhaustive coverage of that anthology. You left off on #3 without having reached my story in that issue! Please consider yourself encouraged to carry on.

Talkin Bout Comics said...

Thanks folks! I really appreciate the support.

Also, I have been planning on picking Popgun 3 back up and finishing the bullets soon. I have read everything in it at this point, but I'm really lazy. I am easily swayed by input, though, so I will make it a point to finish it next!

Sandy said...

Happy First Anniversary! I always enjoy reading your thoughts about comics, and I'm happy that you are here to stay. Congrats.