Picking your brains


Well howdy, partner.

You know, these blogs is funny things. Really, no matter what the topic, blogs are by nature self-centered. Either you treat a blog like a journal, in which case it’s entirely self-centered; or you use it to wax philosophical about whatever topic or cause is especially near and dear to your heart.

The really tough thing about blogging, I’m finding, is how to keep the focus on your interests–which is the point, after all–but present them in such a way as to grab the attention of folks who may not share your brand of weirdness. Because another aspect of blogging that’s the same for everyone who does it is its public (or at least semi-public) nature. If we genuinely didn’t want anyone to read our thoughts, we could keep them offline, or handwrite them. We all want to get into conversations about the stuff we dig. We want to weigh in on related issues and have some kind of presence (however minimal) in the community of fans or gardeners or political activists or whatever.

I am certainly no exception. I definitely enjoy all this more when there’s some kind of dialogue. But I’ve been looking over my stats lately, and while I’m up to an improbable 31 followers (counting Twitter), I’m not really getting as much traffic/comments as I’d like. I try to scoot around to other folks’ blogs and leave comments and likes, but thus far it hasn’t generated a whole lot of new interest.

So I turn to you, dear readers, for suggestions. What kinds of material would you like to see on this blog? If you have some ideas, please leave them in the comments. I’d be grateful for any recommendations.

15 thoughts on “Picking your brains

  1. Hi! I know what you mean about how hard it is generating comments and traffic to blogs (and thank you for commenting on my blog).

    I’m quite new to blogging so I am still a bit shy about posting comments (its weird I know!). I love your site and think you have posted some very interesting and intelligent articles. Have you ever thought about doing a post on the origins of horror stories? Looking at legends/contemporary legends and how they feed into popular culture? Maybe its a bit cheesy but I think it can be interesting.

    Good luck with the blog!

    • Hi Lenora! Thanks for the comment and the kind words!

      I don’t think that’s a cheesy suggestion at all. There’s a ton of interest in exactly that right now–a lot of my students are writing their final papers this semester about this very topic (the folklore/pop culture relationship).

      I’ll see if I can’t whip something up. I really appreciate the suggestion!

      Also, your blog is AWESOME! The stuff you post about is exactly the stuff I’m most interested in–local legends about haunted places. Keep it up!

      • Hi Angry :0)

        Fantastic – I totally love that kind of thing, although I come at it from a lay-person’s point of view. So glad you like my blog, I am a bit of history geek and history and folklore/supernatural collide so often. Its where all the best stories come from I’m sure!

      • Agreed. Legend is probably my favorite genre of narrative, because it’s a major way for real people to actually relate to events in the past (supernatural or otherwise).

        And all points of view are equally valid–I’m just a nerd who made a bad life decision and tried to make a career out of it!

  2. Sounds like a good career choice to me. My background is history (no pun intended) but I’m not lucky enough to work in that area.

    I’m working on a post at the moment about a ‘local’ legend that incorporates ‘recent’ ghost sitings, folk-lore motifs and a slim kernel of historical fact. I imagine that it is much harder to find the ‘historical’ truth behind more ancient myths and legends but its a fascinating subject all the same.

    • It ate my reply. Boo.

      Well, I’m still just a lowly grad student. The real test will be if I’m able to land a job once I finish the old dissertation (fingers crossed!).

      Yeah, truth is a murky thing at best. Usually folklorists are less concerned with issues of truth than with issues of belief, and also issues of context. We try to figure out why people tell the stories they do (for instance), how those stories relate to their larger cultural context, etc.

      One of my biggest areas of interest is exactly the kind of thing you mention re: your upcoming post: local legends and their significance to people’s daily lives. Looking forward to reading that one!

  3. I am interested in trying to develop a more folkloric viewpoint as I think it would add a lot to some of the area’s of history that I am interested in. Can’t wait to read more of your posts…I’m off now to bury myself in some research!

  4. Show some skin. Much more skin. Not yours though.

    You well know I have the same thing going with mine. 90% of my audience interaction is through the Facebook fan page. Another 8% is through flash mobs.

    • I would pay good money for a video of a Greg-organized flash mob. Atlantic City would never be able to clean the cigar ash and pear brandy smell out of their carpets.

  5. Urban legends. Analyze, disprove or support ’em, I don’t care. I just like reading about ’em.

    “Slender Man”, for example. He’s an evil dude computer nerds made up for a contest. Now, people claim to have seen him. There are Youtube shows, computer games… He’s taken on a life of his own. That type of stuff fascinates me.

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