March 2, 2015 by Paula Reed Nancarrow
Last week I posted my first Blog Hashtag Day survey.
I’m not talking about this kind of hashtag, though #youreallyneedtowatchit:
If you don’t know what a blog hashtag day is –and want to know – read this before proceeding.
The idea was to get some idea how people use blog hashtag days like #SundayBlogShare, #MondayBlogs, #wwwblogs and #ArchiveDay, which is a Saturday blog share for old posts. On #ArchiveDay I cheated a bit and used my current week’s post, but for a good reason: I wanted to encourage people I often only see on that day to take the survey – which you can still take by clicking here.
I also participated in #SundayBlogShare for the first time.
Up until now I have resisted, as I already have trouble balancing writing posts, promoting them, and sharing posts on the other three hashtag days. It seems like a great group of people, and though there is some overlap, I saw many folks there I had not previously met. Still, Sunday has always been my social Sabbath, and it will go back to so being when the survey is done.
As of 12:01 a.m. March 2, my Hashtag Day survey had 150 responses.
I know darn well there are more bloggers than that who participate in hashtag days. I’d like to get as accurate a picture as possible of actual practice. The ten questions are relatively quick, though one respondent said it took “longer to respond than I usually allow for commenting on posts!!” I suppose it depends on how thoughtful you want to be.
The purpose of the survey is not to cast judgment on anyone’s practice: it’s to determine what real usage is like, what people benefit from most, and what activities simply may not be sustainable over time. Your response is completely anonymous, so you needn’t be concerned that someone will call you out for not retweeting them or for not commenting enough on other posts. Frankly I would like to see more people who have not been able to do these things to their own satisfaction speak up and say why.
You have until Sunday, March 8 at 4:00 p.m. to take the survey. Please do!
That’s Central Standard Time here in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (I moved the time back a bit from last week, as I see #SundayBlogShare ends earlier than I thought, and this will give me more time to actually write the post.) If you don’t know what time that is in your part of the world, here’s a quick converter.
In the meantime, though I don’t want to bias further responses by giving an analysis of questions so far – the danger of announcing a trend is that you then begin to shape it – I figure I can give you a sense of what other questions people are interested in.
My last question was: “If you were to design a followup survey to this one, what additional questions would you ask?”
By far the most frequent theme was perplexity, if not outright anger and frustration, over why people would retweet posts without reading them. There’s occasionally a hint of moral outrage as well. I can, in fact, make a reasonable case for why this might occur without duplicitous intent. Given my own current practice, which decidedly has its pros and cons, I expect to explore this issue more in a later post.
Other comments related to people who use hashtag days for their own posts without retweeting anyone else, people who only retweet after they themselves have been retweeted, and individuals who post the same content week after week. “I love the writing of some of the #bloggers, but I hesitate to share posts that are repeats week after week. I’m more supportive of new material.” I have personally experienced some frustration with this because many of the people who retweet me generously week after week do not publish new blog posts as frequently as I do. This means when I reciprocate, I have little choice but to retweet something I may have already retweeted several times.
The second most frequently addressed subject area – besides retweeting a post without reading it – was blogging itself.
The themes that repeat themselves involve the purpose of blogging, what the individual gets out of it, and whether blogs are worth the effort it takes to write them. There were also some interesting variations on technical expertise. For example, some people did not really know how to check their stats at all. Others would like to ask sophisticated followup questions like “what percentage of blog visits convert into subscribers?”
One telling question for authors was suggested: “Have you ever bought a book by an author whose blog you read regularly?” Authors are expected to blog, but whether there is any direct correlation between blogging and book sales is another matter altogether. Because the reciprocity and demands of blogging are intense, people who are trying to make a living with creative work often wonder if they are cannibalizing their other energies by doing so.
The third most frequent area for followup questions so far involves expectations and level of satisfaction with Twitter hashtag days.
There is some real fear that as hashtag days grow in popularity they are becoming less effective in terms of blog exposure. “How likely are you to continue making use of hashtag days on Twitter? Do you feel that the more popular hashtag days become, the less your tweets will stand out from the crowd?” “Has Monday Blogs become a victim of its own success?”
On the other hand, you also have people asking followup questions like “What is the most RT’s your blog has ever received on Monday Blogs (I don’t bother with the other days – this is the best).” So clearly there is some disagreement here. In fact I noted myself in an earlier post that the proportion of retweets is not always directly correlated to the number of page views; and that I often have more engagement on hashtag days in which fewer people participate.
My personal experience suggests that if you are going to post weekly, and your blog is fairly young and has not had time to develop a strong presence in search engines, participating in several hashtag days over the week – if you have good content, and use smart Twitter practices – is currently the best way to boost traffic quickly. At least that’s what my own stats page tells me.
Whether this is born out by the data of others remains to be seen.
If you haven’t taken the survey, please add your voice below: