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Old 12-11-2014, 23:04   #31
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

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Old 13-11-2014, 02:56   #32
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

I think the OP is not clear on the concept here. It's like telling collectors of old paintings that they are wrong and should switch to collecting digital prints since painting by hand is so passe.

If I wanted to be immersed in the most up to date electronic/digital/matrix world I'd be sitting behind the latest game console instead of tinkering around my 30 year old boat every chance I get. But alas, I don't want to be immersed into this brave new world and therefore I'd rather read an old fashioned advice from similarly minded people on an old fashioned platform such as this forum. And that's why I would not want this forum to become just another facebook chat room with lots of useless (to me) videos, chatter and other time and attention consuming garbage of today's exhibitionistic culture.
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Old 13-11-2014, 04:12   #33
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tessellate View Post
I kind of want to start a sailing blog at some point, but I'm not sure a blog is the best way to communicate. Let's be honest, blogs are so 1999 - antiquated technology. I work as a software engineer, so web development is not a problem - I'm willing to code up something better, within reason (time constraints).

Blogs are great for posting photos and reaching an audience outside the sailing community, but I've noticed many don't get much interaction - even the well written ones. I don't want to start a blog and have it feel like the writing effort is for naught - like talking to an empty room.

Forums like cruisersforum are great for reaching a lot of people in the sailing community, but aren't so good at posting rich media (photos, video) or reaching non-sailors.

Next I'd consider social networks - I don't like Facebook much, but Google+ actually has pretty good community features - communities oriented around interests like photography, etc. But not sure how popular that would be, and you kind of need to post frequently, not weekly or monthly.

Next up is YouTube. S/V Delos' channel is the best example I know of that is communicating what cruising is like, and I've watched every video. But I don't have great talent with video or reality TV. So not sure I could do that successfully, but maybe something similar along those lines would work, but with a different style.

The goal of the blog or other media form would be just to share my learnings, adventures (photos and video) and learn from others.
Hi Tessellate - the greatest advantage to writing a blog and posting photos is the fact that it keeps a diary of events for yourself and for family and whoever else is interested. We have emails arriving daily from people who read our blog ... they don't interact on the blog because it is cumbersome, but they do write to us and we have helped many, many sailors with advice to set up their boats for cruising, so the blog definitely has good interaction ! We also do Facebook and You Tube videos, but at the end of the day one should write for oneself ... it is amazing how quickly the mind forgets things and how by looking back to the posts such terrific memories are remembered! We found also that internet is not always easy to come by on many islands ... it will surprise you how much it costs to keep a blog going with the cost of internet on most islands! We have to smile sometimes ... I have even been scolded by some readers who I have never met in person before, for not keeping them updated .. and they were very serious and angry with me for it. When I tried explaining that we sail in some remote areas and cannot always be online ... they tell us in this day and age to make a plan. I then try subtly to explain that I am not on their 'payroll' to which I get the reply that I am being selfish to live such a privileged life and not put more effort into it ... LOL ... and I kid you not ... they are SERIOUS

Anyway, would not worry about the interactions one sees on blogs ... we can hardly keep up with the amount of emails we get ... just today I got 7 emails all to do with Crossing Panama ... and I wrote that one ... gosh ... probably a a year and 1/2 ago! We love sharing ... we don't do the 'number count thing' because what does that really mean anyway ... we just love meeting people and learning and teaching through whatever media platform is out there ... blogs still make terrific diaries! If you could come up with a blog page where one can write and post photos offline and then post that to blogger once there is internet connection ... now that would be terrific! Video's are also great ... we use the Go-Pro and upload to You Tube, but they do take a lot of data ... sadly.
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Old 13-11-2014, 04:32   #34
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhillen View Post
I guess people want to sail for different reasons and one should not judge. There are thousands of earnest sailing blogs out there with people writing in excruciating detail about the most mundane things aboard. That is not for me but if they get a jolly or two putting that stuff up on the internet, so what?

I have always hated, loathed and despised Blogspot. We have a Wordpress site and posting to it is simplicity itself.

Does anyone read our blog? Next question: Do I care? Apparently we have 10,000 hits or something so somebody other than myself looks at it. My wife doesn't. Her family doesn't and I don't even think my family reads it (!). Why do I bother?

I like to think of the effort as my "literary suppository." It is a dark place I can insert all my writing and journals of our adventures when they are fresh and as they happen. Years later I will have, I hope, amassed a goodly amount of interesting (to me) stories. My two young daughters, perhaps 40 years from now, may even deign to read them and reminisce but that will be their decision and if they don't, well, who cares?

Cheers.

Dhillen
Dillen ... ABSOLUTELY 100% AGREE ! The one advantage we did have by the number of reads though, was when a supplier was trying to give me the royal shaft (as in RIP OFF ARTIST) ... I simply showed him where I was going to post my experience of the situation and the 'stats overview page' ... he took one look at our exposure and promptly did a U-turn ! Never seen a dishonest man become so honest that quickly before
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Old 13-11-2014, 04:35   #35
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

I started a blog mostly as running work log of my work progress on my re-fit. It has pictures, something that my paper work log doesn't. Perhaps someone may actually pick some pointers on construction techniques on boats. I know I have. I started the blog so I can accept comments and suggestions. I prefer website structure though, but I am too limited in programing to allow interaction, so Wordpress.

I would like Wordpress to give me some of the functionality I have with my websites, but it it what it is.
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Old 13-11-2014, 04:53   #36
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Island Time O25 View Post
I think the OP is not clear on the concept here. It's like telling collectors of old paintings that they are wrong and should switch to collecting digital prints since painting by hand is so passe.

If I wanted to be immersed in the most up to date electronic/digital/matrix world I'd be sitting behind the latest game console instead of tinkering around my 30 year old boat every chance I get. But alas, I don't want to be immersed into this brave new world and therefore I'd rather read an old fashioned advice from similarly minded people on an old fashioned platform such as this forum. And that's why I would not want this forum to become just another facebook chat room with lots of useless (to me) videos, chatter and other time and attention consuming garbage of today's exhibitionistic culture.
I can empathize with most of this. I feel the same way. I am not on Facebook, or Twitter, or LinkedIn, or any of the other "social" media sites. I find them a waste of time and energy. They remind me of the old Chat Rooms in the early AOL days. Hours spent discussing boring and mundane things of no consequence, nor much interest to anyone outside the two who are discussing it. It's easy to sit in front of the computer for hours chatting away and fooling yourself that you are actually getting something accomplished. I know this, because I've done it.

What I do like about the general blog format is that it seems to attract a group of like minded people. People find us because they are on the internet looking for specific words or phrases. This is different from Facebook. Way different.

I did check out S/V Delos blog. Very very nicely done. I mentioned earlier that we'd moved into the realm of posting more videos on our blog some time back. I built a camera slide and we got into time lapse photography. We did similar stuff with GoPro's on the tip of the mast, etc. At the time, I thought that moving toward more video was what people wanted. We've been playing with both video and time lapse stills for a while now, recently doing a lot more aerial photography with kites. I have a UAV on order, thru Kickstarter. ( Pocket Drone).

And what I found out is that a lot of people in remote areas will not even click on videos or knowingly open emails with video links in them. I can think of quite a few people here in this country who will not ever visit the Delos bog twice, because of what happens to their connection the first time they try it. It ties up the limited bandwidth of a lot of wifi systems, and nobody in the marina gets anything else done while the cute video is loading. If it even loads. So we've backed off from that. Streaming video in a location with limited wifi is kind of selfish, don't you think?

So some of these newer, higher tech blogs are fine for watching in downtown London or back home in Des Moines. Tied up at South Side Marina on Providenciales, it would be rude of me to load up the Delos blog knowing nobody else in the marina is going to be able to read or send email for the next hour. I'm starting to think that for us, personally, we'll be trying to move toward shorter posts, tailored toward mobile and limited wifi bandwidth readers, posted more frequently. That's been hard to do, from a blogging standpoint. It's easier to let the photos pile up until I am forced to deal with them.
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Old 13-11-2014, 06:38   #37
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

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Dillen ... ABSOLUTELY 100% AGREE ! The one advantage we did have by the number of reads though, was when a supplier was trying to give me the royal shaft (as in RIP OFF ARTIST) ... I simply showed him where I was going to post my experience of the situation and the 'stats overview page' ... he took one look at our exposure and promptly did a U-turn ! Never seen a dishonest man become so honest that quickly before
Now there's an advantage I hadn't thought of!

I read your blog avidly, by the way. The pictures are fantastic and you seem to have some super modern version of Blogger I have never come across before. We are one year behind you for the South Pacific and I am waiting for you to get off Niuatoputapu so I can see what's next. C'mon, hurry up!

(I know, you're not on my payroll....).

Keep up the great work, if you can.

Thanks.

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Old 13-11-2014, 11:24   #38
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

Most seem to use their blogs as personal logs or just enjoy interacting with strangers.

A couple expressed interest in monetizing in order to make some beer (rum?) money. Pat Flynn's The Smart Passive Income Blog — Smart Ways to Live a Passive Income Lifestyle On the Internet with SmartPassiveIncome.com is a great resource on various options to monetize a blog for those who are interested.
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Old 13-11-2014, 11:38   #39
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

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We have emails arriving daily from people who read our blog ... they don't interact on the blog because it is cumbersome
This. This is partly what I was getting at. A non-public post on FB with 100 or so people viewing it can easily get a dozen comments, yet a public blog post often has only 3-5 comments, or none. If the blog is getting 1000 viewers, why is the interaction rate so low? (note: make sure you're not counting web crawlers in that count - that would make it completely inaccurate).

What I didn't think of was the hidden participation - emails, offline friends/connections.

Still, commenting is one of the most basic functions on the Internet. How is it that it can be cumbersome? I think the problem with a lot of blogs is their commenting system is setup with like 7 different login options. Too many things to choose between. I also think the public nature of a blog is a deterrent. People don't want to say something stupid or personal on a blog where it will live forever but they're perfectly happy to do that on pseudo-private social networks or other forums.


The bandwidth concerns for people in remote locations are understandable. I think everyone should have a mobile option on their site. I've seen some cruiser blogs that do serve mobile optimized versions on mobile devices, but have never seen a way to opt in to that on their desktop site. That'd be pretty simple to add.

The other side of the coin is that Internet access is improving at amazing rates in most of the world. So cruisers in relatively populated areas - Mexico, US coasts, the Med - are able to get faster and cheaper Internet than they could get 10 years ago. And for those of us watching from land, well, I have a 100 Mbps connection (0.1 terabit).
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Old 14-11-2014, 07:34   #40
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tessellate View Post
This. This is partly what I was getting at. A non-public post on FB with 100 or so people viewing it can easily get a dozen comments, yet a public blog post often has only 3-5 comments, or none. If the blog is getting 1000 viewers, why is the interaction rate so low? (note: make sure you're not counting web crawlers in that count - that would make it completely inaccurate).

What I didn't think of was the hidden participation - emails, offline friends/connections.

Still, commenting is one of the most basic functions on the Internet. How is it that it can be cumbersome?
Yeah Tessellate .. I 'feel you' ..

Still, I think when one is cruising out there, adventuring and exploring and so forth ... the cruising life is busier than one thinks. So, to be blogging for 'pouplarity' i.e. a number count thing ... nah ... what's that all about ... that 'steals precious time' from one unless of course you are wanting to market a product or gain business wise somehow through it ... then of course ... it requires a lot of effort and hard work and it's 'business as usual'... and posting the odd sexy chick topless on there will rapidly add to the count ... so how then does that reflect on ones blogging skills ...

We have met so many terrific sailors out there through our blog and photographs ... and really ... our blog is simplistic ... we try through photography to give others a feel for what we are seeing, but it really is a wonderful diary for ourselves ... we often look back over some of the posts and it triggers all the other experiences around that time!

The internet email feedback we get (as stated) is amazing ... we even meet up with many of these folks along the way ... some on the tiniest little boats with few items on board, but loving their lifestyle .. I so respect these sailors who have become mates through our blog and facebook interactions.

I think for 'interaction sake' ... communication within blogger is a bit cumbersome ... it posts a response which then waits for approval from the OP ... the answer that follows ... I dont' know .. it just feels to me there is no flow in conversation on posts ... and then many people ask for confidentiality at which point we suggest just emailing us ... its easier.

We learn from other peoples blogs ... especially those who have gone before ... we try to incorporate what we learn from them and post some new information relevant to our visits there ... and others follow in our footsteps and no doubt yet again add to that ... it all makes blogging fun!

Some CF members have read our blog ... we read some of theirs too ... they have written to ask about what we do to set up our boat for cruising ... how we closed the business and wrapped up 'land life' ... what we find on the boat adds to comfort ... even how we (Ana and I) get on in confined spaces and so on! Here's the exciting part ... a number of these folks have since purchased boats ... in fact, I am currently chatting to two members who just in the last 2 weeks purchased cats and are busy setting them up along similar lines. I feel them to be really close friends now through the blog ... In the process I am learning a thing or two as well ... this is the beauty of blogging! Who knows .. we may even meet them on our 2nd circumnavigation ... its really exciting to be part of peoples dreams coming true!

Recently I have started incorporating some Youtube links into the blog because people write to us and ask to video some sailing scenes in the deep blue. I try to explain that there is not much to see out there on a video except lots of blue ... so posted some with us sailing the assymetric! That generated a lot of emailing ... you know .. stuff like dropping (lowering) the assymetric when suddenly the wind gets up and all that, so yes, I think more and more blogging requires 'linking' to other platforms in a greater interaction. Readers have shown a lot of interest in places we visit ... this has pushed me to see more and even capture more (like using a Go-Pro to dive with sharks in Fakarava - was terrified of the things before we left South Africa) ... and now we have even purchased a waterproof drone to carry the Go-Pro because I think footage from the air would be interesting (although I can't even start the damn thing ... tried last week and gave up) ...

I think I can positively say that through blogging we have TREMENDOUS interaction now with so many wonderful people out there who love sailing or even people who just love the idea of sailing ...

It is a great platform to meet people, to interact with people (even if it's routed through some other correspondence like email), to have a dairy (for ever on-line - for ones self, for children, grand children eventually and so on), to keep family and friends updated, for younger people as a reference on their CV when applying for work, for sharing and learning ... I believe that Blogging is indeed fashionable and current, even now in 2014.

Well these are my thoughts on the matter anyhow ...
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Old 14-11-2014, 07:57   #41
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhillen View Post
Now there's an advantage I hadn't thought of!

I read your blog avidly, by the way. The pictures are fantastic and you seem to have some super modern version of Blogger I have never come across before. We are one year behind you for the South Pacific and I am waiting for you to get off Niuatoputapu so I can see what's next. C'mon, hurry up!

(I know, you're not on my payroll....).

Keep up the great work, if you can.

Thanks.

Dhillen
Dhillen ... You make me smile ... please don't become one of those dudes Yes Dhillen, must admit I have felt a little less motivated with the Vava'u blog ... I have actually recorded our thoughts and activities on word (we always do that and post to internet afterwards) and yes, I will get the photos sorted between the various anchorages and islands we visited. Must tell you though that we had a lot of rain and bad weather ... yet some places were amazing!
Fiji also is proving to be great .. although it felt to me to be back in South Africa last night ... many break ins to yachts here during the week and I was on 'guard duty' all night with my 'batten' in hand. You can hardly see the dudes on their little floating rafts in the dark ... until they smile!
So .. struggling to get to my blogging right now .. between doing night watches and doing a lot of boat maintenance ... still ... we are here now for a few months and am dying to dive some of these spectacular reefs!
Man ... are you guys in for a treat leaving for the pacific next year ... it beats the Atlantic hands down! But it does have its challenges (like accessing spare parts and the customs duties / agents duties and so on) ... I will have to follow your blog so am the wiser on our next round then!
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Old 14-11-2014, 08:12   #42
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

You can learn alot by watching the videos mentioned as Delos and untie the lines.. The first couple really wernt the best and you can see this in the comments made under the video posts.
But as they kept producing the videos, they got better and one of the last posted by Delos shows where someone is videoing the dink from atop the bluff as it enters and leaves the inclosed area is showing well. you can see they are now scripting the video and I wouldnt be surprised it they dont do a few different takes and work with the best made.. I've even notice they are using two or more cameras on some of the diving sites..
In untie the lines, she is reading a script over the video. great thinking and mixing..
I would think she is spending alot of time cutting and splicing the video.. what she has going for her is emotion, she make you want to tear-up when she tells you of all the holes in the bottom of the boat and she's about to quit the project..
I would think you would want to find a quirk to run with and build on that.. in delos , they are traveling the world in search of a great dive spot, in untie the lines , she's going through all the emotional areas involved in full-fill ing a dream and refers to her boat, "Karl" as an independant person........ both are good examples of what to do..
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Old 14-11-2014, 08:50   #43
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

Tessellate -- I can only tell you what works for us. We have been out over 7 years now and at first started a blog and other folks told us about their blogs. But i soon found i did not read theirs as i keep forgetting and i doubt no read ours. We get notes from some friends that their blog is new and ready and franky some are just too long.

So instead i started writing a diatribe. I try to keep it short at 2+ but less than 3 microsoft word pages and include about 30 pics. It is not sent out on any schedule but we try to put one out to cover where we have been.

It started out with family and friends at maybe 25-30 people and 7years later we are over 200 people who get it. If they do not want to read they can simply delete it from their mailbox.

They are time consuming to write and select the right pictures and each time i think they are not being read i get an email from someone we met a long time ago and express their apprecialtion. a couple of examples: a high power lawyer who has one of the corner offices in a huge bldg that we met in Mass. gets it. One day we got an email from him to express his appreciation for them - as he put it he was having a bad day and his computer dinged to tell him he had a new email It was from us so he told his secretary not to disturb him for 30 minutes and put his phone on hold. He said he sat back and opened the email and for 30 minutes he was sailing with SoulMates. He said it totally changed his mind frame and asked us to just keep going and thanked us for including him.
Another is an excruiser whose husband died and now she is on dirt and misses the life. We constantly get emails back from her thanking us and said the email just makes her day as they take her back to when she and her husband were cruising and for a while she is back on the boat.
Our family get them of course and it just lets them keep up with us.

We do do facebook but just as a quick update on where we are and it is a place where we can put videos of SoulMates under sail. I have not set up anything in utube but i like the idea and will explore it this winter and the idea of a utube site attached to the diatribe.

hope this helps.
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Old 14-11-2014, 15:34   #44
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

I think it is possible to see the comments/discussions as an optional part of a good blog.

The value of a good blog is the quality of its original content. The blogger may, additionally, aim to use the feedback and/or, in some cases, to respond, on the blog, to some comments.

But there is also the hidden risk of not listening to someone's own voice but rather concentrating on what others expect. This may, in some cases, degrade the quality of the blog.

So I say, depending on what one wants to achieve, allowing comments (and allowing time and energy to comment on some comments) must be done in a most calculated way.

Where I ghost blog (-ged) we decided, in some cases, to disable comments and right now this is split between blogs where comments are not allowed and blogs where comments are strictly filtered prior to being posted under an original entry. This saves heaps of time and energy and allows us to do what we want to do: spell out and forward our own message.

Hope this helps somewhat in some cases.

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Old 15-11-2014, 09:12   #45
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

Tessellate, I don't think anyone has suggested this (sorry if I missed it) but we found Tumblr to have the best of both worlds. It gives you an easy to use blogging platform without the pains of managing your own wordpress AND the social interaction of facebook without all the facebook clutter. We love tumblr.
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