I began this project with high hopes. I would create a feminist blog, post 2-3 times a week, gain a bunch of followers and become a famous tumblr blogger in a matter of a couple weeks, bada-bing bada-boom. WRONG. I mean, It wasn’t a complete failure. I DID get notes on my original content and I DID gain followers because of my original content. I even got in a fight once, so I am calling this at least somewhat of a success. I did not, however, become a famous tumblr blogger. Their loss. I ended up with 37 posts, 33 total likes but only 7 followers.
HERES WHAT I LEARNED
After this whole experience I have learned a couple things about blogging. First, while my original thought of a feminist blog seemed like a good idea, it was actually a really hard idea to execute. There are so many blogs about this type of thing, I’m talking SO MANY, which may make it seem like this is a good topic to blog about (and it is for personal reasons) but it is so easy to get swallowed up into the giant mass of endless blogs that are constantly being generated for this topic specifically. It is hard to be different. It is hard to compete with the giants and to come out from their shadows. Additionally, while it was nice to have an outlet for my personal rants and opinions, (no seriously, it was so nice having an environment to do that in) nothing that I wrote about was totally original content. I don’t mean that I stole every post, but all of my opinions have been shared by many others. There are thousands of post arguing and talking about the exact same things that I was talking about. This, again, is nice. Its wonderful to have so many people share my opinions and to have a conversation about things that are so important, but it makes it hard to be noticed. For example, it hard for someone to stumble across my post about Women in the Military, (one of my favorite posts that I had) but its easy for someone to stumble across the NPR’s posts about the same subject. On tumblr I am a nobody, which is fine, but frustrating.
I also learned that while content matters, tags matter more. Tags are the way to notes, followers, people’s hearts… My content could be horribly written and have nothing to do with anything on my blog, but as long as I use the right tags, Ill get the right attention. Now, I did not use totally irrelevant tags, but I did start to use more and more tags as I learned what was happening by using them. I can write a post about Women’s Rights to Abortion and use tags like #feminism #feminist #abortion #women’srights #women… but I can also use tags like #baby #mysogyny #uterus #mybodymychoice #illdowhatiwant #pregnancy #pregnant #girlpower to spread out my post to a wider audience. It doesn’t guarantee notes or followers, but it does open up the post to more people.
The next thing I learned, follow people. Lots of people. I ended up not following very many people but the more people you follow, the more people who see your name pop up as a follower and therefore gets your name out there.
It honestly took me quite a minuet to figure this out but the next thing I learned is that while the number of posts you produce does matter, what matters more is what you post about. I started out posting rants about things that had come to mind or about things that I had experienced that particular day but as I started to understand the tumblr dynamic better I realized that the best way to gain notes and followers was by posting about hot topics or conversations that were happening in the real world (not just my teeny tiny world of Bemidji). I know, it seems like this should be a given, my thought was that I am blogging about popular topics so I should be fine, and while the topics I blogged about were popular topics, they weren’t hot topics. What I mean when I say hot topics is things that people are CURRENTLY having discussions about. An example, I could totally write about blatant mysogyny in media OR I could write about the blatant mysogyny shown by our President. The message is essentially the exact same, but more people are currently talking about the President so people are more likely to look at posts about him.
The next things I learned kind of go hand in hand. Quantity matters. The more posts, the more your handle is out there, reaching more bloggers and the best way to have a high quantity of posts is by reblogging. I am pretty sure that the reblog button is the greatest invention ever made. It lets the conversation continue to grow and enables everybody to explain their own take on posts. Additionally, bloggers are notified when you reblog any of their content which allows your name or handle to spread further. More often then not, if you reblog a post done by a smaller blog, they will see the notification of your reblog and go to your blog to browse, I know thats what I did. It happened to my a couple different times. I found a smaller blog and reblogged some of their content, they returned the favor by not only following me but by going through my entire blog and liking nearly every post, reblogging my original content as I had theirs.
Finally, the very last thing I learned was that a passive voice gains no attention. The louder, the more angry, the more intense the post, the more likely it is to receive a response. I would love to say that I could respectfully and quietly share my opinions and that would inturn gain attention creating a respectful and quiet conversation but that is SO NOT TRUE. The more curse words, the angrier, the less room for forgiveness that I had in my posts, the more response I got. People WANT to fight. People WANT to see passion. People WANT harsh truths and opinions. I did get in one Tumblr fight (I consider this one of my greatest achievements to this day) thanks to a post about The Price of Being a Woman. People were angry that I had the audacity to suggest that women had to pay more than men for similar products (heads up, its true and it’s a problem) *insert eye roll here*.
IF I DID IT AGAIN
If I did this project again there are a couple things I would change. First, I would start with a less passive voice. I would vigorously attack my posts with a passion
and a vengeance for my poor AFR blog. I would also choose a topic for my blog that might have less competition. There are just so many blogs just like my AFR blog that it is hard to really be noticed. Don’t get me wrong, the fact that there are a bajillion Feminist blogs out there pleases me to no end, but I, as a noob, cannot compete. I would choose something that was a little more achievable. Perhaps I could start a fanfiction blog. (Everybody loves fanfiction! >:) ) I would also start following more people faster in the game and use more tags than are necessary. Overall The most important thing that I realized from the blog experiment is the effectiveness of blogging as a means of finding like minded individuals and having a conversation. It’s nice to have an outlet to discuss important topics in a place where everyone is talking about the same types of things. I learned so much from other blogs. I solidified opinions that I wavered on. I learned more about my own personal opinions than I did about the opinions of the masses. This blog was an outlet for things that I would not have otherwise been able to discuss. That is my favorite things about blogs, I think. There is a community of people to support and oppose anything and everything. It is a creative/ political/ personal/ mash up of anything. A blog can be whatever the blogger needs it to be. For myself personally, I was extremely frustrated about recent political “advancements”( totally the opposite of advancements actually but thats not the point) and this blog was a great way for me to gather information and form opinions. A great place to have a voice, albeit a small and rarely hear one, but people did hear me and I felt like, for once, my voice wasn’t completely mute. I also found a community of people who shared my opinions and was able to have conversations with them about things that were important to me. (ya know instead of just being told feminism is the work of the devil and how women*insert stupid phrase about gender stereotypes here*.
I think that I will probably continue to blog. I’ll probably make a few blogs and try to blog about different things until I find the niche that suites me best. I’m glad I got the experiences and know how that I did from this course. Blogging was always something that I wanted to do but never something that I knew how to do. Now that I have the experiences and background from this class, I can take it a step further and try and add my own personal twists on all types of blogs. I am honestly really excited to continue to blog and how it can help me grow and continue to form opinions about the world.