January 22, 2009

Blog On

Yesterday, Packrat asked me about why I blog. (Her questions were: What is your point of blogging? Do you want everyone to agree with you, or do you want a little lively conversation once in a while (as long as it isn't mean spirited)? Who do you want looking at your blog?)

Although, technically my earliest posts were at the end of 2006, I didn't really start blogging consistently or telling anyone about my blog until January of 2007, so this is right about the two year mark for me (before this blog, I had a live journal that has all been made completely private, lest I die of shame when you read the sort of idiotic things I wrote during high school and college. I can't even read it without rolling my eyes back into my head).

Originally, I planned to only write book reviews on here, but after approximately six minutes, I found myself wanting to write about other things that were only tangentially related to books and then, whoops, things that weren't at all related to books. Like the time the social security office told me my name was "Jansseb."

And then people started commenting a little more frequently. I started reading more blogs and more people started reading my blog. When I said something, people would chime in to offer opinions, agree or disagree, or expand my thinking on some topic. It was fantastic.

I certainly don't want or need everyone to agree with me (and I love that plenty of people are willing to tell me frankly that they think I'm dead wrong about college tuition or archiving email). I loved the opinons that came out on my post about homeschooling; some had me thinking "Exactly! That is why I want to homeschool!" and others made me think "Hmm, that's a good point. I may send my kids to public school."

In most cases, when I ask for an opinion, I don't really even have an opinion and want to get one or I have an opinion but I want to see how it matches up against other people's views (the other cases are when I need to prove to Bart that no one else says "root BEER" instead of "ROOT beer").

As for who I want looking at my blog, I am happy to have basically anyone read it. I know my parents and grandparents and in-laws read it, so there won't be any "check out this heinous snowman sweater my mother-in-law made me" posts (note: there have been no snowman sweater gifts). Although I don't use my last name on my blog, I know that my blog comes right to the top in Google if you search for my name, so I'm aware that any future employer or library patron or professor could find me in a moment. My blog isn't private and I have zero intentions of ever doing so, as private blogs are a thorn in my Google Reader-loving side.

I hope that what I write here is interesting to people who've known me for years and to people who just stumbled here by Googling "bell bottoms paris blues." I hope that even if you don't particularly like to read, that you won't be bored to tears by the book reviews, and if you mainly came to read a book review, you won't roll your eyes at my talk of LOST and 24 and North & South.

I try to respond by email to comments (if I can find an email address for you); Bart has suggested that I start responding to comments in the comment section (opinions on that?). I try to read most of the blogs that link to me.

Mostly I blog because I like to talk, I like to tell stories, and I like to write. I blog because I want to remember the books I read and enjoyed and want others to read and enjoy. I blog because it's a fun hobby and because I like having a record of my life (that I hopefully will not be forced to roll my eyes at in two or three years).

And, I really like all you people that read and comment. Thanks.


  1. Janssen, thank you. Weird that I'm the first one commenting. I almost always read your blog first, because you have one of the most fun blogs that I've found.

    I actually found you one day when I did a search for A Wrinkle in Time. You mentioned that your dad loved this book, and as it had been one of my favorites when I was in grade school I "had" to read the rest of your blogs. Until then I had only heard of blogs and had no clue what they were. The rest is history as "they" say.

    As to your diary you kept, oh well, hopefully we all do dumb things in high school and college and learn from our mistakes early.

    Keep up the good work. Thanks again.

  2. For my own part, I like to respond to comments via email in case an outside conversation results. If I'm responding to something for general clarification (like if someone asks for a recipe link), I provide that in the comments section for public consumption. I don't usually return to sites to see if there's been a reply to my comment, even if I know that the blogger regularly responds in the comments section.

    Just out of curiosity, how many subscriptions do you have in your reader?

  3. I love when people reply by email and I try to do it as much as possible. I am NOT good at responding to little comments that are more or less "me too!". I wish everyone had the reply by email thing. Like RA, if it's something that clarifies the post, I try to reply in the thread.

  4. And we like you, too! You are a witty and entertaining writer. Keep it up.

    And I love it when you reply by email. I so rarely check back on blogs for responses in the comments. Plus I think it fosters loyalty in your readers because they get that personal connection to you.

  5. Hi Janssen.

    I just recently found your blog while surfing book reviewer blogs. Starting a blog of my own is something I have been pondering and so I needed to see what is out there. I'm not nearly as avid a reader as your are, but I am inspired to set some book reading goals. Mostly I have a long list of best loved books that I long to tell others about. Which had me thinking that I don't really have enough material to make my blog specifically about reviewing books. Mine will likely end up a mix of many of my favourite things.
    I quite enjoy your non book review posts as well, keep them coming

  6. I read on the hope that once in a while you will post a really good recipe ; ) Kidding, I read because I think you are funny and I love things like when the SSA thinks your name is Jansseb.

    I don't read your book reviews until the day before I go to the library in which case I check your goodreads, find which ones I like and perhaps come search for the review on here (talk about a fair weather book review reader)

    But I love the posts about LOST, proving Bart wrong and all other miscellaneous stuff.

    Also, I prefer email responses to comments, since one of the ways I limit the time on the computer is to only check out the comments if I leave one and not to go back and reread the comment section.

    It's an awesome blog and it was the inspiration behind starting my own blog, which has proved to be a major stress outlet for me. I find the main purpose of my blog is so that when something really dumb or hard happens I can comfort myself by thinking "hey, this will be a great blog entry".

    : )

  7. What I've learned from Janssen's blog:

    1. I should watch Jane Eyre and North and South (I did and both totally rocked.)
    2. Why some people's blogs show up in my Google Reader and why some don't. (I still hate that people switch to partial feeds. Why, people??? WHY????)
    3. That I need to take time to read more
    4. That you're a totally loyal blog friend
    5. That you and Bart are great ward members (the High School Musical dance was fantastic!)

  8. Janssen, I read your blog because you make me laugh and I want to stay close to you and Bart. I feel like I'm a little part of your life. As you know, I think you're going to be a national blogmeister in the future. Keep it up.

  9. Umm..I forgot what I was going to say. I'm sure it was witty, but it is gone forever now...

  10. Cool info! Those private blogs are driving me crazy too! C'mon people! Take a chance! :)

  11. Hi Janssen,

    I found you through "Love is Blonde" and enjoy reading your blog for a variety of reasons (book reviews, recipes, television show reviews, traveling ideas, etc.). I have been thinking about starting a blog at some point and think yours is a great model! Thanks for all the great posts!

  12. Ok, um, for some strange reason, your original post is not popping up on my reader. I had to find out you wrote this because Bart shared it.

    Google reader? Dead to me.

  13. What a great post, Janssen! I admit that I tend to favor book blogs because of that common bookish theme, but I never mind off topic posts (Lost fan here too!) because it is a way to get to know the person behind the blog better. Besides, I don't always stick on topic either. :-) You have a great blog and I enjoy all of your posts, regardless of topic.

    As for responding to comments, I don't mind either way. I think it's great (not to mention polite) when someone responds at all to the comments left on their blog, whether by e-mail or in the comments section. I can see I'm the rare bird here who prefers to answer comments left for me in the comment section on my own blog. It's easier for me, saves me time, and I think it adds to the discussion so others can take part if they want to as well. If it was a really private thought and I had access to the commenter's e-mail address, I might e-mail them instead.

  14. I prefer e-mail replies (like the one you sent me yesterday) because I forget to come back and check the original post. :)

  15. I enjoy reading your posts, about books or anything else. I also love Google Reader and it's annoying when someone I know has a private blog I want to read.

    About commenting in the comments section: I don't always check back to the post after I comment, but I'm sure it would be easier for you rather than e-mailing a response.

  16. One other thing I didn't say in my first comment is that I can reply by email from gmail, which isn't really a big deal when I'm at work. I feel a bit uncomfortable opening up my actual blog to reply to comments at work. Most of my coworkers do not know about my blog and I don't want them to. Once I get home, all bets are off as to when I'll remember to reply to people.

  17. I love your blog, and found you through Nemesis and Science Teacher Mommy. This is the first time I've left a comment, so please forgive the fact that I lurked for awhile.

    I am part of the private movement, which came about because I didn't think through what I really wanted my blog to be. Oh well. I always find your posts well though out, engaging, and fun. Keep it up!

  18. What a great summary; I love reading the "why" behind the blogger :)

  19. And I am so happy that you blog! I love your reading suggestions/reviews and the stories you tell (which are always highly entertaining)!

  20. PS I like comments on my blog because so few people read it. :)

    Also, I haven't figured out a way to put my email address in my information without it being spelled out right there on the front blog page. Either it isn't possible with the layout I have, or I'm just not computer savvy enough to figure out how to change it.

  21. I think all bloggers who write on a normal basis find that the community and the conversation are what keep them writing. The exposure to varying opinions, ideas, and ideals is fascinating for me. I grew up in a conservative town in Central WA and then went straight to BYU so I've been pretty sheltered.

    I don't keep my blog a secret from anyone either, although my close friends and family are kind of freaked out by the idea that so many strangers would read my blog, and that I would be so open to sharing the "intimate" details of my life so freely.

    As far as comment responses go, I try to mix things up between replying on the blog and replying through email, depending on how personal my response is. Now that I'm getting 5+ comments/post I've realized it's impossible to respond to every single comment, and I don't think people expect me to do so> or I hope they don't.

    You know, the reply by email thing is the reason why I moved to Wordpress. I was having a hard time getting in touch with people who were commenting when I was using blogger and it was frustrating. Now I have emails for commenters the majority of the time and I love it.

  22. Yeah I like how you reply by email. That's a nice way to do it...I might just start that trend as well.

    I love your blog and am always excited when I see a new post by you in my reader. Thanks for keeping me entertained at work!


I try to respond to most comments, so it will make my day if your email address is linked in your profile. If you're not sure if it's linked, you can add it by following these instructions.


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