Thursday, April 19, 2007

Psychology of Blogrolls

Blogrolls - most blogs have them but how do they reflect on us as people? Let's start with a couple of questions.

1 - Do you predominantly post on blogs that have blogrolls? If yes,
  • Do you ever go back to those blogs to check and see if they added you to their blogroll due to your insightful and witty comments?
  • Do you ever add anyone to your blogroll in hopes that that person will see it and add you to theirs?
2 - If you have a blogroll, do you have any blogs on it that are of diverging viewpoints from your own? If yes,
  • What got you to select those blogs even though you disagree with part of their viewpoint?
3 - Do you tend to comment more on blogs that generate a lot of hits and less on blogs that are more obscure?
  • Have you ever gone to the topsites and gone to the top couple of blogs to read and comment to see if it would generate more traffic on your own blog?
4 - What was your intention when you first started blogging? Has it changed?

When you finally find a medium to make a difference and to challenge yourself and others to deepen our knowledge of God and relationship with Him I really think that Satan would like to detour us into thinking that the focus is really ourselves. If he can get our thoughts off of God and put our thoughts on to what could generate discussion, what could stir up 100 comments on a post, what could make you more popular then the battle is already won. We are not the focus, He is.
  • "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2
I wonder if what is inside our hearts and motivations in blogging can be seen by our answers to some of the above questions. It is human nature to seek approval and desrie attention. It is natural to want to be heard and to feel significant. But if the truth be told that is probably not the initial reason most of us started blogging. With a few minor changes in attitude and thinking the focus of what we do can change from making a difference for God to making a difference for self. Have you ever had a day when you had many more hits than you have had in a while and it made you feel better, not better because you had made a difference, but better because people were listening?
  • Jeremiah was a prophet with direct revelation from God. He had an unpopular message that surely wouldn't have generated very many hits if he were here today blogging his message but it was still important. Technorati would not list this guy in the top lists of number of links but he still spoke out faithfully.
  • Some of the most important blogs and websites out there are not the ones with millions of hits talking in abstraction about minutia and finely-tuned theologies but the ones that are out to make a difference for God in a practical way through service. They may not be noticed by many people or show up in the blogrolls but they are making a difference that will last forever.
Here are some things to try out:
  1. I would challenge all of you to add to your blogrolls blogs that you don't quite agree with but you know have some things that challenge you in difficult areas of your life. One way I have done this is by adding Mark Elrod and Greg Kendall-ball first of all because I know them and respect them as people and second of all because their views on war, nonviolence, and pacifism stretch me and challenge my thinking. If you only surround yourself with people you agree with 100% chances are you won't grow very much.
  2. Remind yourself of why you got into this whole thing and see how your motivations for blogging have grown or regressed.
  3. Examine your motives that determine where you post and where you don't. See if your comments are heart driven out of love for God or driven out of a desire for more traffic
So this post is dedicated to the faithful blogger who posts day in and day out, many comments or few, lots of links or little more than a handful, all because they are trying to make a difference in the lives of others with little concern for popularity, links, or self-promotion. Sorry to end this so soon, I have to go to technorati and sitemeter and see how I am doing!

13 comments:

Neva said...

Matt,
I dont really have a blogroll. I never thought of putting one on--and probably couldn't figure out how to do it, if I wanted to. (what does that say about me?) :)
Recently, I got some disparaging comments on my blog--comments about the lack of comments on serious posts. I think you are right, that each blog has a purpose, the intention behind the blogger.
When we left NE, there were several women and I who had daily devos with each other. We all missed it. I started my blog for those five women. While I am thankful that others read and I am humbled by their comments, the intention is still simply a posting of my daily devotionals hoping to uplift and encourage those five women and any others that should stumble upon it.
My sitemeter was put on by a friend of mine who said that I could see where referrals were coming from and that sounded neat. Not really sure how all it works either.
BTW, I always enjoy your posts--I tend to gravitate toward blogs that are encouraging and uplifting and stay away from ones that bash christianity and the church. Thanks for being the former.
Peace
neva

lisa leichner said...

1. I occasionally notice when someone has added me to their blogroll, but I'm usually surprised. I tend to wait for someone else to add me before I add them -- for some reason I think I seem too eager when I add someone to my blog like they're my new best friend. (that's really just insecurity on my part)
2. I have people with divergent views on my blog, but to be honest, they're still mostly Christians. I would prefer to not lead others to blogs where there is questionable language being used. To answer the second part of your question, I am still growing, still learning, and since I've begun blogging, I have learned that there are a lot of great Christians out there who don't have the exact same views I do on some of the controversial issues, but I still respect & admire them and am willing to be challenged by them.
3. Since my list of blogs to read has gotten so long, I have had to limit the amount of blogs I comment on. I usually comment on blogs whose author also comments on mine. In that way we've gotten to know each other, and I like that sense of community. Occasionally I'll comment on some of the more popular sites, but not usually, since I feel like my comment is not really heard there (does that sound selfish? sorry if it does).
4. My intention in blogging has definitely changed since I first began. I started it as a way to keep in touch with distant friends & family members, and let them know what my kids were doing. I had no idea I would make friends through blogging or that blogging would be an extension of fellowship for me. I have someone in my life very close to me that has not-so-Christian-views on things, so it really builds me up to have the blogging community around for encouragement.

Oh ... were you wanting us to answer your questions here or just reflect on them on our own time? :P

DJG said...

Well, since I am not on your blogroll will you see my comment as an attempt to get you to add me?

Actually I do my blog-rolling through bloglines and not directly on my blog. I have good reasons for that, but I am not telling...and you can't make me.

I do read several people who think WAY differently than me. I appreciate being challenged and stretched.

My comments are driven by...time, whether or not I have something to say and sometimes it is just a way to reach out and communicate with someone....I am sometimes more likely to comment if I think a blog has limited readers....weird huh?

Everytime I think about why I blog or try to quit I go back and read some of the things I have written in the past and am glad that I have recorded them.

Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

I too have a small blog roll. Initially the only folks I had listed were folks I knew personally. Then I had one or two ask if I would place them on my list. I was happy to do so. And really do need to update it but just haven't had the time to spend on those things (mine still has no link to Palo Verde Church of Christ on it!! How lame is that?). This weekend I will do some servicing of the blog.

I am quite surprised when I notice some one has a link to my blog, especially when I never see a comment from them. I have wondered what that means too.

I read several blogs on a regular basis that I do not agree with. I do this for the sake of building relationships and keeping communication open.

Thanks for a different sort of post. I liked it.

Shalom,
Bobby Valentine

Frank Bellizzi said...

I, Frank Bellizzi, at www.frankbellizzi.blogspot.com, can say in all good conscience that I blog at "Frankly Speaking" for the all of the selfless and none of the selfish reasons.

Frank Bellizzi
www.frankbellizzi.blogspot.com

Matt said...

I have really enjoyed reading all of your reactions and comments. I also appreciate the encouragement. To me, that is what blogging is all about. It is about making a positive difference in the world. It is about saying things that are uplifting and helping people have a more hopeful and joy filled day. To some degree it is also about helping our understanding about God but only to the extent that that understanding leads to more holy lives and service to others.

Mark said...

I have a blog roll. I generally just put people that I actually know. Also, if someone links to my blog, I try and put them on there to return the favor.

I think a lot of your discussion about the psychology of blogging needs to be viewed in more subjective terms. I think you view your blog as more of a ministry and are looking to get a wider audience. I view my blog as (1) a sort of diary to help me not forget the events of my life (2) a way for distant friends and relatives to keep up with me who desire to, even if I can't talk with them often.

I haven't really thought of my blog as much in terms of trying to build a huge reputation. It's more a way for me to process my thoughts and let others help guide me as I do it. It would spook me out to get the kind of traffic that Mike Cope gets.

You mention adding people who disagree with you on issues. I regularly read Elrod's blog, because he is reasonable in how he presents his ideas. I don't mind linking to him. Other blogs set out to be intentionally inflamatory, and I find that I'm a much happier person by avoiding them. I'm with Neva: I have no use for people who can't say anything good about the church. I have almost nothing but good things to say about the church I'm involved with. The church isn't perfect, but a lot of people gripe too much.

Blogging has really become an important part of my life. If it weren't for blogging, I would have probably lost contact with you and Bobby V after HUGSR!

Matt said...

Hey Mark,

Thanks for the lengthy response. I always value your insights and have been really glad to get to keep up with what is going on with you since last year. I really see this as a ministry of encouragement and sharpening as we refine each other rather than some voice from on high trumpeting all sorts of fascinating truths. I try to be more fascinated by the comments than by anything I write. I have broadened my approach a bit as I have realized there are a variety of reasons people come here and have a look - keeping in touch with people from the past, meeting new people, and being sharpened by both.

Paula Harrington said...

Frank cracks me up :)

I only link to my brother's site (and a couple of my own). I think blogging is a good way to meet and influence others for Christ. Just another way we can light our lights shine.

Matt said...

Yeah, that was a pretty good one there by Frank. What I really appreciate about it is I totally believe it from what all I have seen there and I know I could learn from him on that as well as many other things.

Bobby Cohoon said...

I added some guy named Matt Dabbs to mine because I think he writes good stuff and I want others to read it.
Keep up the good work brother.

Bobby

Bobby Cohoon said...

I forgot to answer your questions:
1. No
2. Yes. I have one on mine that is a devout Calvinist. He makes me think. He makes me search the scriptures.
3. No. I really don't know which blogs generate a lot of hits, but I don;t think it would make a big difference. There are a lot that I read that I should comment on and due to time I don't say a lot. I try and post something to let them know I read it and liked it.
4. To get the Gospel out. Has it changed? No, though I have changed how I write I think to some degree. I had to find what seemed to work best for me. And, what my readers wanted to read. Now, that doesn't mean that I always take the popular position; I don't. I had a real "nice" comment left just last night along with a few "nice" emails" to a post on the VT shootings. It seems that those who stop by my blog are looking more towards devotional stuff as opposed to the deep theological stuff.

Bobby

Matt said...

Bobby,

Thanks for all you do. I really enjoy how you give us interesting things to check out from time to time. It really saves a lot of time and energy. Thanks for your presence here as well.

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