A-Z went by kinda fast this year, but maybe that's because I had all my posts drafted and ready to publish in February. I remember working on them right before we lost power during the snowstorm.
This year I worked alongside Tina Downey of Life is Good, as one of her
minions assistants, so in addition to finding and reading blogs on my own, I had a set section of blogs to check regularly.
The first thing I noticed is that the Boston bombings on 4/15 seemed to take the wind out of everyone's sails, although quite a few dropped off around 4/12. A lot of them also started foundering around the letters R-S.
I saw a lot of snarky comments in blog posts about the A-Z hosts and about being checked up on by the assistants. One of the blogs I've been following since last year's A-Z said she got kicked off the list when she'd let too much time lapse, but she was continuing anyway. I started to feel really uncomfortable, like a tattletale any time I sent my reports into my team leader, of who wasn't participating and who was using CAPTCHA and asking what is to be considered 'adult content'. I saw a small skirmish between one particular blogger with her trashing of host Arlee Bird over his insistence that she get the 'AC' letters for her adult content. Towards the end, another blogger I started to follow made a quick post apologizing for being offline, said she'll catch up in the next few days and asked not to be kicked off. So that whole thing bummed me out.
I visited lots of blogs, but only commented on a few. I don't much care for blogs that center around faith, children/child rearing, business advice, video gaming/RPG, poem prompts, poetry and short stories. There was nowhere near the amount of craft blogs like last year. Most bloggers opted not to use the category letters to help readers target their interests, so it was time consuming to find stuff that I truly enjoyed. I also had a difficult time with a lot of the blog layouts, and the ones from WordPress. It took me awhile to find where to leave comments. Some of the layouts had so many A-Z letters or blog posts on one page that it was too busy so I bailed without reading. It was sort of like newspaper columns. Others are set to 'read more', forcing you into an additional clicking and page loading step. I have the time on my hands to do this, but if I was working full time? There's just no way. A lot of them also didn't stick to the 'keep it short' advice either; I know a couple of mine were longish too, but some were long every day. I made a real rough count and I visited about or just over 600 blogs during the challenge. I don't know if that's a lot, average or too few. There were a lot of blogs I skipped if they used category letters that didn't appeal to me.
As for new followers, I did way better last year than this. I think I only got about 15 or so new followers in 2013 vs. the 50+ in 2012. I started to follow a lot of blogs this year who also quit part way through.
So those were all the bad and frustrating things I encountered. I would like to say that there were more good things than bad, but really there wasn't. I did find a couple of great blogs to follow. The only other positive was that there was far less instances of CAPTCHA.
My discontent in no way is meant to reflect upon the organizers, who did a great job and a big thank you to them & especially Arlee for hosting the A-Z and for all of their hard work. It's a time consuming event and can't be done on this scale without a lot of dedicated people. It's just that for me, it fell a little flat. I'm sure other bloggers had a great time.
This was probably my last A-Z....I may change my mind next year as the time grows closer but I just can't commit to it again at this time. That's not to say I won't visit people that signed up for it next year, but right now I don't think I'll participate as a blogger.