Friday, July 11, 2008

A new blog concept?

[This post originally appeared on my short-lived "weekly" blog, "Hopefully Considered." -ed.]

I'm going to "cheat" with a quick weekday post here, because I need your suggestions and thoughts about something.

[But first: a shameless, cross-blog plug! Notre Dame readers, check out the Photoblog! Srsly. ... Okay. Shameless plug over.]

As I mentioned below, I'm having some doubts about the viability of the weekly-blog concept. I'm still firmly committed to my twin goals of a) limiting the time I spend blogging while b) maintaining a creative outlet for myself (ideally, one that's worth reading for my audience!). I'm just not sure the weekly blog, in combination with my other blogs, is the best solution, either for me or for my readers.

I'm sticking with the current format for now -- indeed, I already have this weekend's post half-written in my head -- but I'm also thinking about possible alternatives.

The best alternative, I think, would be to replace the current three-blog format -- Weekly Blog, Photoblog, and Moblog -- with a two-blog format. The Photoblog would remain as is, but the Weekly Blog and the Moblog would be, in essence, merged, with the temporal restrictions on the Weekly Blog loosened somewhat.

In keeping with (to varying degrees) the suggestions of Julie, Alasdair and kcatnd, I'm thinking of limiting myself along lines something like this:

• I will resume posting regular blog posts during the week, like the old days, but I am strictly limited to 60 minutes per week for these posts -- no cheating. (I figure this would be good practice for billing my time!) The time limit may eventually be adjusted up or down depending on how it works out in practice, in terms of its impact on my free time, but 60 minutes seems reasonable as a starting point.

• I will continue regularly updating the Linklog, and I will try to get y'all to actually pay attention to it. :) Linklog posts, which take very little time anyway, won't count toward the 60 minutes. They're freebies -- thus encouraging me to use the Linklog unless I have something really good to say about a given article.

• I will allow myself to do one longer blog post per week -- essay-style, liveblog-style, or whatever -- with no arbitrary time limit. (At least at first. If I find that I'm spending too much time on these posts, I may impose a time limit.) I won't promise, however, to do one such post per week, and some weeks I might not. (This should alleviate the "homework assignment" problem.) Nor will there be a specific schedule for these posts. However, I'll hopefully avoid the sporadic/infrequent problem because the blog will remain fresh regardless of whether I do a long post in a given week, thanks to the time-limited mini-posts, the Linklog entries, and any Moblog posts (which also don't count toward the time limit).

• Finally, to prevent myself from getting bogged down in comment-wars -- which can be a huge time-sink -- I will institute a policy of personally refraining from getting into tit-for-tats in the comment section. I'll only comment if there is some administrative/webmaster-ish type need to do so, i.e., to correct an error or clarify/resolve some issue. Otherwise, I'll let my posts speak for themselves (updating them in the body of the post, if my response to a particular comment is sufficiently important to justify that). Basically, I do the blogging, you do the commenting. :)

As I said, these are just ideas that I'm floating, not a final plan of action. Nor do I have a timetable for this. I'm just thinking out loud, as Papa Loy would say. So, in that spirit, my first question is, what do y'all think?

And my second question -- surely you saw this coming -- is, if I decide to create a blog along these lines, what should I name it?

Neither of the current names of the blogs that I'd be merging -- "Hopefully Considered" and "Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost" -- would really work well for the combined product, IMHO. The latter, certainly, is way too long and clunky. I suppose I could use the former, "Hopefully Considered," but the whole point of that title was as a reference to a weekly column. (As for paying tribute to my grandfather, I intend to continue calling the Linklog "Linking Out Loud," which is also a nod -- albeit rather obliquely and inside-jokily -- to Papa.)

Instead, I was thinking of a title that makes a play on the word "ramble," which has a perfect double-meaning for a blog that will be combination Moblog/Travelog and Politics/Sports/Etc. Rantblog: "1. to move aimlessly from place to place ... 2. to talk or write in a desultory or long-winded wandering fashion." This idea was inspired by The Rambles of Spring, one of my favorite Tommy Makem songs, whose chorus goes:

I've a fine, felt hat
And a strong pair of brogues
I have rosin in my pocket for my bow
O my fiddle strings are new
And I've learned a tune or two
So, I'm well prepared to ramble and must go

I sort of like "Rambles of Spring" as a blog title, but it might seem a little odd during the summer, fall and winter; it's not like I'll only be blogging (and rambling) during one-fourth of year. :) Another possibility, also taken directly from the song, would be "Well Prepared To Ramble," but I don't really like that as a title. It sounds okay when you say it out loud, but when you look at it on the screen, it sort of looks clunky and, er, un-title-ey.

So anyway, I'm once again turning to y'all for suggestions. Anyone have a good title idea involving "Rambles" or "Rambling" or "Rambler," using the word in a way that's applicable to both of the above-quoted dictionary definitions?

I'm also open to suggestions that don't involve "ramble" at all. Perhaps a pertinent Lord of the Rings reference, or an Irish or Great Big Sea song reference, or something else applicably nerdy? (Two things to avoid: references to "Irish Trojan" -- that ship has sailed -- and references to my profession. My blog and my career are separate, and I don't want the title to undercut that concept.)

Oh, and don't forget the subtitle. I was thinking either "Brendan Loy's Moblog, Travelog and Occasional Rantblog" or "Brendan Loy's Moblog, Travelog, Occasional Rantblog, and Den of Miscellany" ... but I'm not sure either of those quite capture it. I'm sure y'all can do better. :)

Leave your suggestions in comments. (And, by the way, the new blog -- if there is a new blog -- will not use Haloscan. I can assure you of that!)