A while back I watched a TED talk (If you don’t know what that is, go educate yourself immediately) on the effects of our media consumption habits weighted against our ability to use Google effectively. Google is more and more becoming a socially and habitually influenced search engine that wants to find you things most relevant to you, even if it means pushing down more accurate results to get you there. Because of this the TED talk concluded a reasonable solution would be to make sure you’re consuming things that might me a bit outside of your comfort zone, at least to keep yourself on a more culturally aware state. I found this to be an interesting point, but my reading habits are already spread pretty wide so it didn’t really help me that much.
However, it did point out the fact that you basically are what you read, online. Because of this, there’s a lot of trimming that I do when setting up my blogroll, I really do only keep things listed that I read, and I really do read everything that I keep listed. Generally if you have a specific blog for a particular game that I’m not following, I’m not going to keep you linked. No offense intended, just personal preference. What goes on in WoW, LotRO, TERA, and other various games means nothing to me, I don’t read it.
I get pretty vague about what I consider a game specific blog though, generally if more than half your stuff is focused on a single game, I’ll categorize you as such. I’d expect my blog to be categorized as a Rift-centric one, even though I’ll occasionally post other things as well. Those are the bits that I miss out on when I decide not to subscribe to someone, but according to the logic from this TED talk I’ll be more likely to pick up on it without following it directly, because of my interest in other things. Which is pretty cool, I get to skip out on all the various games that I’m not interested in, but at the same time get the little nuggets extracted as needed.
Topic isn’t the only thing I’ll discriminate against. If you’re cutting out chunks of a blog post to hide behind a click-through, I’ll probably unlist you after it annoys me a couple times. I’m perfectly fine with keeping comments a click away, if I want to comment, I’ll be happy to engage. But don’t punish my readership with a click wall, hits just don’t matter that much. Not to mention it makes gReader all kinds of unhappy, and RSSOwl will just grab everything behind the link anyway. I see this as a way to generate additional hits on your blog while being an inconvenience for me
The other pet peeve that will usually deter me from patronage is advertisements. It’s a blog. You’re not providing any critical services here, your opinion really isn’t important enough to warrant a payment, and the hobby even if you’re self hosting is very cheap. If you want to get paid for writing, go to one of the big sites and pray they like your work. When I see ads on a blog, if I’m feeling nice I’ll just adblock all of them, but more likely than not I’ll just not come back at all. Oh, and I’ll take my linkback consideration with me too.
One last thing that bugs me, well, that I don’t consider worth following really. I’m not going to be going out and following Tumblr blogs or things that simply link pictures or videos as its entirety. There’s some pretty cool picture farms out that and I’ve been prone to surfing through them, but it’s not engaging content in the slightest because there’s no reading material. This might be due to me having a slightly more developed brain, but picture books just don’t do it for me anymore. I respect the art that goes into it, but it’s not something I can read and feel satisfied with.
When it comes down to it, don’t annoy your readers. Give them the content they’re looking for, and make it easy. These are basic concepts that any of us really want. I don’t want to be hassled with your ads or click walls. I’m not going out of my way to be considerate and follow you even if your content means nothing to me. I don’t expect anyone to follow my half assed rambling rants if they don’t like the content either. That being said, in the near future I’ll be doing a pretty hefty update to my blogroll. If you want in on the ground floor and I don’t have you up there, the reasons might be right here.