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An Amazing Conversation

March 28, 2010

Screenshot - Bloggers, Blotanists, and SuperblotanistsWhen I published a post earlier this week (Bloggers, Blotanists, and Superblotanists) summarizing my research on patterns of new member participation at Blotanical, I expected that it would attract a fair amount of interest. But I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. The amazing conversation that has been going on here for the past few days has been humbling and gratifying, exhilarating and exhausting. At this point, more than 110 comments have been added to the original post. If you take away my responses to others’ observations and ideas, you are still left with 64 comments by 46 different commenters. And many of those comments are long enough to be blog posts in their own right! The comments include sharing of experiences at Blotanical, trenchant observations, debates about strongly felt issues, and suggestions for new issues and questions to be studied. The participants in this discussion range from one who described herself as a “triple newbie” (new gardener, new blogger, new Blotanist) to seasoned gardeners who are long-time bloggers and veteran members of Blotanical. While many commenters are active Blotanists and Superblotanists, others are former Blotanical members, formerly active Blotanists, or members who have never been active.

What’s most amazing to me is that, after tens of thousands of words have been written, this conversation has not yet reached the point where people are simply repeating what has been said before; new ideas and observations are still being added. At this point, though, I think it’s difficult for new voices to join this conversation because there’s so much to scroll through and digest beforehand. (Although, amazingly, after I wrote those words, long thoughtful comments appeared from three new commenters.)  I think this conversation is still very fruitful and I’d like to see it continue. To make that a bit easier, I’ve decided to put my next planned blog post temporarily on hold and spend the next few days sifting through all these comments to try and summarize the issues, themes, and points of view they raise. I hope to post this summary by Wednesday evening or Thursday. My intention here is not to shut down this conversation, but to propel it forward and open it up to new voices.

Someone asked me a couple of days ago if I felt like I had “opened Pandora’s box.” My answer was no, that I felt more like I feel after a really great class discussion, drunk on all the new ideas ricocheting around in my brain. I still feel that way, and I’m reminded once again of the incredible generosity of gardeners in general and garden bloggers in particular.

If you’d like to add to the comments already in progress, please do. If you’d like to wait until I can make it a bit easier to get a handle on what has already been said, check back here in a few days. And thank you all for providing me with such an intellectually stimulating weekend!

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. March 28, 2010 9:23 pm

    I see “class project’ written all over this thing. jim

  2. gardenerprogress permalink
    March 28, 2010 10:18 pm

    I look forward to your summary. I just got caught up on the newest comments and it sure is interesting. As someone mentioned it has turned into it’s own forum 🙂

  3. March 28, 2010 11:03 pm

    You have done the world of “Blotany” a huge service. I look forward to hearing your findings on Wednesday 🙂

  4. sequoiagardens permalink
    March 28, 2010 11:17 pm

    Great Jean! I was feeling more and more left behind as I’ve not had the time to read all the comments, let alone respond. But it is a perception-changing post in many ways. Long may it live!

  5. March 29, 2010 12:19 am

    Hi Jean, I commented on your last post, then went off to work for a few days, unaware of all the comments that came after mine. I checked back this evening, and I just finished reading over 100 comments. Wow! This is a very interesting discussion, and I am looking forward to your follow-up post.

  6. March 29, 2010 7:04 am

    Jean,
    I am looking forward to getting caught up on your paper as well as all of those comments left. It looks as though many have left some very valuable insight, and I can’t wait to dive right in. For me, between school, blogging, and blotanical, something had to give and I chose to take a break from blotanical. I have not visited since it was down some time ago. I do miss it, as it has resulted in many amazing blogs that I miss out on.
    I do hope you are enjoying these early signs of spring, and I am looking forward to your next post! 🙂

  7. Elephant's Eye permalink
    March 29, 2010 7:19 am

    What about letting your Blotanical research fly as an independent blog? Then you could post a specific question, and we could leave, and find, the answers at that post. (Lots of bloggers run more than one blog) After all if you are researching bloggers, why not use a blog as an effective research tool?

    Have put your Superblotanists post on my Favourites, since it has acquired a life of its own.

  8. March 29, 2010 9:03 am

    Jean: Here is that “tripple newbie” again 🙂 I am looking forward to your next post too! I am also interested in reading your paper since this is kind of things I like — research…

  9. SummerHouseArt permalink
    March 29, 2010 12:34 pm

    As another newbie to Blotanical, I’ll be watching for your next post. I’m finding all of this incredibly interesting.

  10. March 30, 2010 12:08 am

    Jean, I’m totally fascinated by this ongoing conversation, but also somewhat bothered by some of the attitudes I’ve seen.

    Since I have been sick for a few days, I’ve actually spent a fair bit of time brooding over all this during the past couple of days. I don’t have a competitive streak except with myself, to do the best I can as a writer for my clients, which is why I make a decent living as a writer.

    In my worldview, blogging is for fun, not for competition or pay or accolades or anything but a giveback to the gardening community, and so I don’t accept ‘awards’ for my blog, (though I appreciate that others enjoy bloomingwriter) and I’ve never regarded Blotanical as anything more than a fun place to hang out with other bloggers. Others don’t see it that way, that’s obvious.

    But I’ve just asked Stuart if there’s some way to remove me from the ‘most visited’ top spot. I don’t like having two top positions on Blotanical’s front page. I appreciate that I have so many who add me to their favourites, but it’s embarrassing for me to have my blog’s face in two of the top spots.There are lots and lots and lots of others that are much more entertaining, creative, informative, beautifully photographed, and they deserve to be focused on too. Some of my favourite blogs–and some of the most popular in the gardening blogosphere–don’t even register in the top ten or twenty, even though they are listed at Blotanical and get oodles of comments and are just awesome.

    Others may not mind hanging out up in the top spot for weeks on end, but I’d just as soon let someone else have a turn. I do what I do for love of gardening and love of the written word.

    Hopefully Stuart can jiggle this; I’ve tried landing on other people’s blogs via that ‘most visited’ page to drive up their counts, but it doesn’t seem to work. Maybe I need to do a blog post called, “Please visit other people’s blogs from the front page of Blotanical, and give them a chance to be in top spot”?

    • March 31, 2010 5:17 pm

      Jodi, I felt the same way when I was #1 and it was always my picture of the front page of Blotanical. Stuart did come up with a way of changing that, for which I am really pleased. Perhaps there is a way to do that with the most visited blog as well.

  11. March 31, 2010 12:19 pm

    Hello Jean – I am fascinated by all of this research you have done. I must say that I never realised the draw Blotanical would be when I first joined. I hadn’t got a clue what a pick was until the 2nd month – and it was thanks to Diana down in SA who helped me navigate the place a little better.

    I can’t get onto blotanical these days for very long as my horticultural full time work is now going into high season and then at home I have my own garden to tend never mind the dh and the kids and the house and the blog! So I suppose I am in one of those ebb moments just now. So if fellow bloggers are reading this and they have not seen me around I hope they will understand that I have not rejected them or am ignoring them but just in a busy period.

    I never joined Blotanical to become competitive though I have a very competitive streak which does drive me in my business but I wanted blogging to escape from that – for it to be enjoyable and fun and meeting with others and gaining new friendships – it might take me longer than others to become a guru on blotanical but I want it to be a pleasurable journey getting there and making lasting friendships while on that road.

    Thankyou all for reading this so far – away now to do the dishes that have been sitting in the sink for over an hour while I read loads here. (((hugs))) Rosie leaves’nbloom

  12. Jean permalink*
    March 31, 2010 7:38 pm

    I apologize for not having responded to any of these comments. I have read and thought about all of them; but right now I’m devoting almost all of my blogging time and energy to organizing and summarizing the comments on the previous post. I have a long way to go, but I still hope to post that summary tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.

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