Monday, March 17, 2008

Here comes my 100th post ...

4 Years, 100 Posts, 200+ Comments, 15+ Commentators, about 5000+ page views (statistics since Dec 2007)

It all started in July 2004, on 23rd I posted my first blog post. Why did I start blogging? I just wanted to join the bandwagon of my colleagues and make presence in blog-o-sphere. . I could not blog much in my first year. I struggled to decide what to write and often felt choked after writing few paragraphs or sentences. Mostly my initial posts referred another post or some news which I announced or made reference in my blog. I did not have any significant stuff to offer to the readers. I think this is what people call as “writers block”. I suffered with that in my initial blogging days.

Things started to change as I wrote more, attracted few best minds in our industry to my blog. As I started receiving more comments, I, all of a sudden, started to see lot more ideas to write and debate on. Many times I asked myself, why do I blog? Got only one solid voice from inside … “I wish to communicate …I have something to tell to testing world”. So, all these months and years, the notion of “idea or urge to communicate” drove my blogging. I felt very happy and satisfied after a posted a blog post. It was like winning a game, or scoring good marks in an exam. A good (in my own terms) blog post always energized me.

After posting, I would monitor my blog for comments. Depending upon the content of the post, I expect 2-3 comments in 24 hours of the post going live. Sometimes I loose sleep if I don’t comments on a post (having a content that I believe is thought provoking and interesting). I then, shamelessly send mails to my frequent readers (l have a list) asking them (explicitly) to comment on the specific post. As far as possible I avoid doing this as I feel this is similar to a well dressed girl going round and asking “how do I look” - a desperate attempt to grab attention. Usually best responses come without asking for it.

In my opinion, a success of blog can be judged in terms of the number and quality of comments. Number – because it is an indicative of number of readers of the blog who not only spent time with the blog also went further to write a comment. Most of the blog readers today use blog as one way communication tool – it is not. Some well moderated blogs like the ones from James Bach, are effective 2 way communication mechanism.

Many times, I think of getting on with “Google Adsense” …in current shape and size, my blog even may qualify for it. I am resisting … I personally do not like the blogs with “google adsense” as it distracts from reading. I see a blog as a library of interesting topics often focused on a specific area. Anything else is distraction for me. I don’t want to loose that appeal from my blog by opening it up to Google.


As a blogger I must avoid doing

without leaving any clue, stop blogging for months and then come back and say “ sorry It has been long time since my last post” … Readers tend to develop some inertia when then see a lull … So keep blogging (one in a month at least .. this time can vary from individual to individual).

Discourage or block comments or make the process of commenting too tedious. To me comments are very important as they are only available mechanism of getting feedback from my blog readers.

As blog reader of other blogs, I would not like if some one does not respond to my comment (especially where I challenge the post content). So if a reader of my blogs posts a comment asking me to clarify – that would be my first priority.

Post reference to other blogs without having your own thoughts of ideas

Short posts like “I am back or here is an interesting thing” … No short posts unless there is real need.

These are my own rules of blogging – I plan to follow them religiously and make sure my readers get best experience of reading my blog.

Benefits of blogging (at least to me)
This blog helped me in connecting many unknown faces. I have few students asking for some help on a topic on testing, I got someone asking me to do a software product review for me. I got several job offers from the readers (that were looking for hiring me), I made new friends via my blog. I have great names in testing World like James Bach, Cem Kaner, Jerry Weinberg – commenting on the posts of my blog.

My message to my blog readers –

Keep checking my blog and generously comment on the posts. You can also use my blog as a platform for debate on something other commentator said about a post. For example you might want to react to a comment posted by Pradeep on my post. I welcome that. This will make my blog as multi fold communication – a discussion forum. As far as possible avoid giving very general comments like “Great post or I liked this blog etc …” As I welcome the appreciation (at times I need it) but would like those items to be in 1:1 mail to me (shrinik@gmail.com) – for a reader, comments like “ I like this post or this is a great blog” not very useful. I encourage my readers to challenge me more often – critically analyze the views presented here … write about it and leave a link. I think such challenging comments are quite useful to me and other readers as it presents a different view point. Do write to me about the list of topics that you would like me to blog.

There is one contradiction that I am not able to solve. If I am blogging for myself (for my satisfaction) should I bother about my readers – their choices, likes/dislikes? Should I worry about responding to the comments?

Should you bother about me blogging or not …. What do you say – Dear Reader?

4 comments:

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

If I am blogging for myself (for my self satisfaction) should I bother about my readers – their choices, likes/dislikes? Should I worry about responding to the comments?

You and me are catering to testers and of course, we are testers too and hence I guess our reader base is certainly interested.

How interested they get depends on a variety of things. For instance, I am not sure how many would appreciate the discussion of Schools of testing because not knowing them might not make any difference to their testing but I certainly enjoyed those posts from you.

Some other tester might be interested at the career tip you have given them through a post which doesn't interest me.

So writing diversified things
attracts reader base.

If you have had job offers, students, people mailing you, and a lot of other stuff through this blog then it means you are going fine, I'd wish you to continue doing what you are doing. Speak out your brain and heart, nothing more than that would sound genuine.

In your 100th post you have spoken your heart and that's something great for me.

In my opinion, a success of blog can be judged in terms of the number and quality of comments. Number – because it is an indicative of number of readers of the blog who not only spent time with the blog also went further to write a comment.

How about Jonathan Kohl's blog where readers can't comment? Isn't it a successful and important blog for the community?

Although I get a lot of comments [ a lot compared to my previous posts, sometimes ] I don't see that as a factor of making me think that I am successful at it.

To me success of a post that I write is the influence it has on one's testing. I have seen people commenting, "Fantastic blog Pradeep" and do nothing different than what they had been doing and also have seen people not commenting but coming back after an year and saying, "That post changed my perception" and that's success.

The time we spend to educate others or educate ourselves should be converted to an influence.

However I see comments as a way my readers are helping me to learn. Some share their stories and some let me know in what context an idea I proposed would fail.

If there are 2000000 comments and I haven't learned anything from it then it is equal to not having any comment. When I get 2000000 comments I at least learn one thing - that there are so many people reading/commenting or Spammer took over.

I have figured this out: It is not important to have a million readers who are not influenced by my writing but it is important to have at least a few who feel influenced by my writing.

Your writing has influenced me and many others, I guess. So your blog is successful.

I enjoyed some of my blog posts that my readers did not. My readers helped me understand that something I wrote was great to them. I forgot and move on to the next post.

Writing once a month for the sake of writing might not be a good idea. If I have a great idea but don't know how to express it, I don't blog. If I don't have an idea, I don't blog. If I have an idea and know a way to express it but don't have time for it, I postpone it.

I publish a post when it passes "Pradeep's test". I have at least 54 posts still lying in the draft. It didn't pass my test but some of them are very interesting. Quite often I look at them and see if I have some more evidence or an innovative way to say the same and then test it. If it passes, there is another post from me.

Although Lesson's learned in software testing by Cem Kaner, James Bach and Bret Pettichord might be the highest selling Testing book, some authors claim their books as highest selling.

I don't know which book is the highest selling but I know of people who have read more than one testing book ( out of which LLIST is one of them ) and LLIST has had a greater influence on them.

Which is successful? The one that sold a million copies and influenced none or the one that influenced that sold in lakhs and influenced thousands ?

Shrini Kulkarni said...

Thanks Pradeep,

Your views and encouraging words .. I can see my 200th ... even 1000th post ...now. I think I can go on ....

>>How about Jonathan Kohl's blog where readers can't comment? Isn't it a successful and important blog for the community?

Personally I like Kohl's blog very much. There is a part I don't like about that - readers can not comment. That is his decision not to allow comments. I not sure about the decision. Is the blog popular - yes. Do I like it - yes. Is there anything that I would like to change on that blog - yes. Enable comments.

>>> To me success of a post that I write is the influence it has on one's testing.
I agree with that. Comments are one way of knowing if I have influenced any one's thinking. Sometimes I get mails about a blog post - that is plus point. Yes, I too learn from the comments.

Shrini

Madhukar Jain said...

After reading your blog i felt like the feelings have came out without any hitch from your heart. I am very much motivated by your post as my state till now is also like yours was long time back that i feel choked out after writing few lines. It reminds me of a very good example which you gave me which goes like:
"Close your eyes and drink milk like cat without bothering about rest of the world and enjoy the feeling".
I guess that a large testing community is getting attached by means of your blogs and the way you respond to their comments which means that you should always respect the people by responding to their comments which you do very generously and thats the way to go.

Sangeeta said...

First I would like to thank you for all your posts and the learning they leave for readers.

>> There is one contradiction that I am not able to solve. If I am blogging for myself (for my satisfaction) should I bother about my readers – their choices, likes/dislikes?

My view on this is - You should write for your satisfaction but to keep the interest of a wide range of readers you can include variety. If you write just for your readers you yourself might lose interest in the content someday.

>> Should I worry about responding to the comments?
This could be personal choice but still I guess if a reader is asking for clarification or challenging your idea or adding another view; he would expect a reply.

>> Should you bother about me blogging or not ….

Yes. You should keep blogging because there are many passive blog readers (like me) who not only read your blogs but also learn from your experiences/stories. I agree that when communication is one-way, learning is affected but still its a fact that many readers do not leave comment.