Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

May 6, 2013

Post A - Z Reflections

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.


  1. That's a shame that it wasn't as successful (at least for you) as it has been in the past.

    As for post lengths, I couldn't agree more. I have mentioned this numerous times to someone asking why they don't get more readers and/or comments. It's because they write a novel with each post and I even end up skimming them.

    Your posts weren't long; and you keep things interesting with lots of photos. The last thing I want to do is read paragraph after paragraph with no visuals.

    I give you props for finding and writing interesting stories for the entire thing... I know I couldn't.

  2. Thanks Maureen. :)

  3. I tried to keep it short. Hopefully, it was. I enjoyed what I did because of trying to recall all the old school stuff from the past. I also enjoyed blog-hopping. I admit I hurriedly click x if the blog is too long and no visuals. I don't have visuals on mine, but I kept it short as much as possible. I love to put up a lot of photos with my blogs (the old one), and I haven't done it in my new one. With my new camera, I'd be photo-happy. :-) Not sure I'd join next year, unless I have a good theme. Oh well...

    Sonnia J. Kemmer

  4. I hope it's not your last. I think you did an amazing job as one of Tina's team members. I saw your comments on so many blogs where I visited.

    It was too bad about a few disgruntled bloggers who were unwilling to have respect and communicate in a decent manner, but I guess that's the way things can go when an event starts getting big like A to Z.

    You did a great job all the way around. Maybe you didn't have as good of a feeling about this year because of being involved. I know that aspect can start making it look more like work than fun.

    I still think the list process needs to be done better to filter the blog interest for those who are not looking for the random experience and want to save time in finding the blogs closer to what they are looking for. We still have lots of room to improve.

    Congratulations on making it through and thanks for the role you've played.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

  5. Hi, visiting from the reflections list :) This was my first year and I did enjoy it - only found out about it the day before the list closed so had nothing prepared! So I think my posts were a bit hit and miss. Sorry you had issues - but the rules are there for a reason, and if people didn't stick to them, don't let them make you feel bad.
    Suzanne @ Suzannes Tribe
    PS lots of crafts on my blog if you click the crafts tag :)

  6. I didn't see any nastiness against the hosts, which is probably just as well, as I don't know if I could've just walked away from it. Tsk.

    Right now I'm like you, JoJo - leaning heavily on the side of not participating in A to Z next year. But who's a whole year away. :-)
    Some Dark Romantic

  7. I think the role you played this year would have been difficult policing like you did. I tried to comment and visit as much as I was able without going overboard and I made it through. Overall I enjoyed it. After a whole year passes perhaps you would have changed your mind. I would have hated reading snarky comments about the hosts. Course I don't believe in leaving rude comments either. There is always something nice to say.