One of the things I was hoping for with the delay in writing this year’s Blaugust wrap-up was that I might stumble upon some additional insight or understanding, some epiphany or pearl of wisdom I can impart — really? Just something to say that doesn’t feel old-hat.

This has been my third Blaugust or Blaugust-derivative but I already felt like my previous wrap-up posts cover it.

  • Daily posting? Not for me — not outside of a challenge context.
  • Content overload! Way too much content being produced to give everything and everyone the duly deserved attention.
  • Still a valuable event. Those issues aside, I still view Blaugust as a community event of significant value.
  • Ginormous thank-you to Belghast, for once again taking on all the efforts associated with running an event of this scale.

So, could I find anything else to say? What else is there?

*coughs and clears throat*

*Unfurls scroll*

Finding Community in the Noise

The Blaugust post that has stuck with me the most, that I really can’t get out of my head, is Pete’s. It carries through it a strand of melancholy you typically don’t observe in these posts. While there are several sources, one of those most easily plucked out and identified is around the difficulty in finding the sense of community. That perhaps not everyone was as invested in boosting the voices of their fellow blogger as others were.

I have complex feelings about this that I’m struggling to unpack even for myself — but I can’t say he’s wrong.

Krikket observed in her thoughts piece that the act of pushing to produce more combined with a focus this time around on some much needed self-care led to reading less of what is out there than might normally be the case, even before considering that the volume being produced is far greater.

I felt in a very similar boat — and perhaps more keenly still as a result of nominally being a ‘mentor’ for the first time this year. I certainly attempted to be good about spreading comments around and reading as much as possible. Where I fell away as a result though was from the Discord, where I’d normally be quite a bit more chatty and helpful. I also didn’t rebroadcast other Blaugust participants posts over Twitter very much, finding sometimes days passing between even loading Twitter up to scan through notifications.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor expansion

I was thinking through all that, and then read my Blapril 2020 wrap-up again where I voiced a query, wondering whether it was just me, or if others had felt it too. A sort of- drawing in, away rather than leaning into the community more as intended.

I felt at the time it was very, very likely to be that the COVID lockdown of the country and inability to socialise very much in real life was finally starting to settle as a weight upon my shoulders. That was likely still a part of it but I believe even more strongly now it isn’t the whole story.

There exists a rather definite possibility that if we’re not careful we can become more akin to strangers (or mayhaps acquaintances) passing by on a busy New York street instead of members of the same club, sharing joy over a hobby held in common.

Blaugust is always going to produce more than any individual can ever reasonably read and respond to. Krikket is right to practice self-care, and in taking the win in being able to do so this time around. Self-care is something many of us are not fantastic at so I appreciate the example being set.

I’m not entirely sure what the answer might be, only that I think it’s something worth considering in advance of the next Blaugust.

Diamonds in the Rough

No Man’s Sky

Stealing a page from Kaylriene’s book — I thought it might be fun to take a look back at some of the posts written for this Blaugust. Running by the numbers, the top five posts written in Blaugust by views1 are:

  1. No Man’s Sky “Frontiers” Update – Aug 14th
    Everyone, myself included, were looking for any available scrap of information about this thing when the teaser trailer dropped! But, it’s here now.
  2. Bouncing and Blogrolls – Aug 2nd
    Perhaps somewhat darkly amusingly given the content of my prior heading here — this post focused on two different aspects of blogger community. Namely; the ability to bounce content ideas off other people’s postings, and the connective fabric that is the blogroll, specifically how one might achieve a dynamic blogroll on WordPress. Pete found another solution for WP folk which I think might even work for free wp.com blogs.
  3. Coming Games of Interest – 2021 Edition – Aug 5th
    A look at some of my most anticipated games throughout the remainder of 2021. Very optimistically, I even attached the scaffolding of a plan around them and how they might fit into my schedule. Nope.
  4. Don’t Post in the Weekend – Part 2 – Aug 12th
    A rather data driven look at why you might not want to post in the weekend. Specifically — why you might not want to post anything you’re hoping for community engagement on over the weekend. Something I didn’t acknowledge in this post? This series was written largely off the back of my disappointment on ‘I’m Starting to Believe‘ — discussing the FFXIV community. Interestingly though, later in the month Kaylriene had this to say on the difference between WoW and FFXIV community behaviour in and out of game. And you know what? I don’t disagree.
  5. Don’t Post in the Weekend – Aug 11th
    Part 1 to the same series; I set the premise but hadn’t yet gone to the lengths of extracting the data in an effort to validate (or invalidate!) my assertion.

If I was to ignore the numbers and just pick a personal favourite? It would be something out of these three I think: The Shape of Motivation and Enjoyment; Big, Baggy, Billowy, Blogger Pants; and > GET PLAYSTATION 5.

The first two there are the more somewhat ‘useful’ posts, or potentially so — but I think the sheer fun of writing out, with some creative license, the process of getting a Playstation 5 in the text adventure format makes that one win out for me. :)

New Bloggers

Aliens Fireteam Elite

We had two new bloggers join and stay the course with us this time around. Impressively, they both made it to the 31 post mark as well!

If you haven’t had a chance to stop by and welcome them as yet, you can find them here:

I observed both of them do exactly what I would recommend to anyone looking to jump into this crazy world of blogging:

Just start.

Specifically, start writing and posting. The niceties of the perfect theme and header can come later. Both of their blogs look different now from when they started to be sure, but what they had was enough — because what they had was content.

So if this is you, wondering where to even begin — it’s simple! Sign-up to WordPress.com (or Blogger, if you prefer) and get writing.

Don’t Procrastinate by way ‘Research’ or getting things ‘just so’. It’s a trap! :)

Footnotes

  1. Sure, this will skew in favour of posts published earlier in the month — but that’s OK!

Naithin

Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

6 Comments

Nimgimli · September 4, 2021 at 1:59 am

Weird thing is, Blaugust ended and so far I’ve kept posting, too. Like you I work a day ahead of time, and following your advice save topics that I don’t really need/expect community engagement on for the weekends.

I feel like my end of Blaugust post didn’t server the community very well. I mean that is just me being me. I’m not a joiner, I’m not very social, I’m intensely introverted these days. I’ve had people reach out to ask me how Blaugust could serve me better, and my response was, in general terms, don’t worry, it’s not you, it’s me. :)

Anyway sorry if this is rushed, I have a meeting starting in 2 minutes… LOL

    Naithin · September 4, 2021 at 2:34 am

    I wouldn’t write your impressions off so readily. Sure, personal comfort in engaging is absolutely a factor — but your commentary really, if anything, served to raise an issue in a new way that had already been acknowledged in the past around (relative to the volume of content, at least) the drop in reading/interacting.

    It’s not exactly an easy one to solve, but certain is worthy of further thought, imo. :)

bhagpuss · September 4, 2021 at 3:26 am

One thing I haven’t seen mentioned in any of the post-Blaugust analyses is the way the event has absorbed several other events that used to run separately, especially the New Blogger Initiative. Unless I’m misremembering, most of the stuff about mentoring and encouraging people to take up blogging used to be the provision of the NBI. Blaugust was more about getting people who already blogged to stretch themselves a little.

That may be misrepresenting both events but certainly this year and last it feels as though Blaugust/Blapril/Blaugapalooza have been doing a lot of heavy lifting that used to be shared by a number of other events. I’m not sure that’s the best thing for the event, long term.

It would be nice, next year, if the NBI and Blaugust could run separately although the reason they got combined was, I believe, because no-one stepped up to run the NBI and Bel picked it up out of the goodness of his heart. I do think it works better as a standalone event but arguably there may not be enough interest from new bloggers to make it viable outside the scaffolding of Blaugust.

    Naithin · September 4, 2021 at 3:42 am

    Aye, I recall for my first Blaugust in 2019 it was discussed how many different events had amalgamated over time into it.

    You’re probably right about the existing blogger stretch and new blogger kick-off perhaps being better as seperate events, unfortunately I think you’re also right that there probably isn’t the necessary reach or interested parties to sustain an NBI on its own.

    I can say though that last year, post Blapril, I was pretty resistant to the idea of changing up how Blaugust worked. I think if Bel was up for it, I probably wouldn’t be so resistant now.

Jaedia · September 5, 2021 at 1:41 am

Yeah, I cannot DO daily posting. I’d wipe out in just a few days if I tried. I cannot keep up with that many posts, either. Best I can do is check on friend’s blogs when I’m able, then stuff that catches my eye, then everything else. But I struggle with screen reading and when people write massive text walls I just can’t do it. I can spend an hour reading just one post when they’re particularly long. Then I’m drained and can’t read anything else. It’s an issue… I actually have a draft in the works about accessibility with long blog posts, let’s hope I get around to it soon.

I applaud everybody for doing the thing, though. I’ve greatly enjoyed peeping back into the community via Discord but heck it’s tough to keep up on everybody’s content. All we can do is our best.

    Naithin · September 5, 2021 at 6:48 pm

    Interesting note on text walls. Do you find having long posts broken up by sub-titles and/or images to help, or is it purely down to length regardless of all that?

    Otherwise though, aye — you’re 100% right, each of us can only do what we can do. :)

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