Saturday, May 27, 2006

[About] First Blog Impressions

When I first visit visit a new food blog there are certain things I want to know immediately. Often new blogs do not give this information and I am not necessarily as hooked in as I might be if I had a better idea of what you are about.

Things I like to know about you when I start to read your blog:

- What is your name or screen name
- What is your sex? Male or female?
- Where do you live (preferably something a little more descriptive than USA - where in the USA)?
- What nationality are you?

What do other people think on this subject?
Is there really a good reason to hide this information. (You needn't give away your real identity by revealing these aspects of your personality)
I am I just being too needy by suggesting people share a little bit about themselves?


This Post was written by Sam from Becks & Posh

20 comments:

Callipygia said...

Sam, I am glad to jump in because I have tortured myself on this very subject. When I started blogging, I hadn't really read many foodblogs. The ones I did were quite established and linked to other reliably good sites, every single one seemed to disclose a lot of info about themselves. I felt that my blog would be a v. distinctive voice since I am a motorized wheelchair user who loves food among other things. I rely on other people to cook, shop, photograph etc. for me. The chair is new for me and I have been unsure how all of my present circumstances will play out in my site. Admittedly, I was initially shy (cept' now here I am telling all!)because I thought hmmm.food & wheelchairs not very sexy. Hence, the details of my life are embedded within the postings- but not obvious in my banner/about me. Now that I am reading more about "grabbing" a reader, I am starting to realize that I might need to be more visible- gulp! I just didn't want to be the sole "wheelchair foodie" (somehow a big responsibility). So, I agree some background info is needed to help connect one to the reader. I just personally haven't taken the leap...But soon

Robyn said...

That sounds like my "about" page! ;D The only reason I clarified my gender is because sometimes it's not that apparent (even though I think it is). People have gotten it wrong in the past. I don't feel like I need to know all that information about people since I think many people aren't comfortable revealing that much about themselves. For whatever reason, I don't care. No one's going to stalk me, right?

...right?...right. I don't have much to hide or a professional life I need to protect. Otherwise I might care more about the information I share.

Cindy said...

I like to know the name or screename of every blogger and where they're from. Also, I'm curious about what they're doing.
I don't read blog of people who don't reveal their name because I guess I like knowing who I'm talking to when writting a comment...

Andrew said...

Personally I hate it when I cant work out where the person is based. A name is essential too.

On a slight tangent - With so many food blogs out there you need something to set your blog apart and distinctive...

Sheri said...

I never even thought of this. I'm interested in other people's blogs, but I started mine because I needed an easy, searchable way to look up recipes I've made in the past. The blog is first and foremost for me.

I'm migrating to a new host... once I do that I may put up an About Me page. :) Thanks for the post.

McAuliflower said...

About the author pages are very important. To be very blunt- they tell us a bit more why we should care that there is yet another food blog that has opened its doors to an audience.

Andrew said: "With so many food blogs out there you need something to set your blog apart and distinctive...". A public food blog is like a new person at a cocktail party. Who are you and why should I stand here talking to you? If you aren't good at striking up conversations with new people- practice! That's one of the beauties of a blog: ample opportunity to practice and try.

SusanV said...

In addition to the information that you mentioned--sex, location, name, nationality--I also look for something describing the type of food the writer will be describing. I may be in the minority, but being vegan, I'm much more interested in writers who are into vegetables, natural foods, and organics. If a blog is all about meat, I appreciate being told about that right up front, and if it's all vegetarian, I appreciate being told that, too. People whose blogs I read automatically get listed on my blogroll, and I need to know what category each blog fits into.

Willa Frank said...

i agree that it is important to have the writer's name -- real or pseudonymous -- attached to the blog. it helps me feel like i am (at best) kind of becoming friends with a kindred spirit when i read posts i can relate to personally. anonymous blogs seem much more subversive to me somehow -- are they corporate shills, trying to make inroads by subliminal adverts or ...? (sorry if that comes across as slightly paranoid!)

i also find location to be an added bonus. planet earth is too big. be more specific. we won't be tracking you via GPS!

Rachael said...

I agree with Sam. When I visit a new blog, I always read the "About" page first. It puts things in context. Susan at Farmgirl Fare has one of the best...I instantly know everything and have a great understanding of where she is coming from.

For me, I think my sub-title pretty much lets everyone know all of that...it states I am a girl in L.A.

Rachael said...

Me again...after reading this and thinking about it, I went and added more to my "about" page...only, the paragraph I wrote showed up on my home page and not as a link, re-formatting the home page and not in a way I thought looked good. Does anyone (Sam?) know how to make it just appear as a seperate link? I use blogger.

THANKS!

Alanna said...

Hi Rachael .. I'm interpreting that what you want is that your "about me " info remains visible in your Profile page on Blogger but not on your home page. If so, then write the profile info into "Edit Profile" from the Dashboard. Then go into your template and fool around to remove the html that displays the About Me on the home page. Sorry, I can't say exactly what it is but I remember when I did it that it was pretty obvious, only took a try or two to get it right. Good luck!

sarah said...

awesome topic!

i am all for a good "about," something that describes the author/voice behind the blog, because it makes the blog more personal, which to me, is what separates blogs from plain old food websites/magazines.

the "about" doesn't necessarily have to be your whole life's biography, and you don't have to give away a lot of personal information - the basic things that sam listed are good to start - but it's definitely important to identify yourself with a "name" (whether it's your real name, just a first name, or even a fun handle).

and i have no idea WHY, but for some reason, i really DO like to know where a person is based geographically. i wonder what the psychology is behind that.

photos are nice, but you know, like i've never shown my face on the internet anywhere. LOL. just don't wanna scare anyone ;)

sarah said...

oh...for rachael...

one thing you can do to sneakily add an "about" is to simply write a regular post called "about" and then link to that.

in your template, where it starts the sidebar section, you just have to add the link!

i can help you...that's what i did (though i set up a whole separate blog, not just a single post, called "about-thedeliciouslife.blogspot.com")...email me!

neil said...

Hi Sam, you are definitely not a needy person, I've always seen you as the giving type.When I started my blog, I decided on a nome de plume, more for the reason that I was writing about people close to me and it wouldn't be fair to them to have someone revealing tidbits about them without their permission.

I'm not particularly concerned about hiding my own identity, witnessed by those of you I've emailed and one person has already posted my real name. But Sam I think you are right in that the about me page should contain as much personel info as possible, otherwise it runs the risk of the entire site looking dull. I've looked at mine a few times and think I should do more, it has had a minor renovation but I've always looked at this page as a work in progress that does need updating.

Tery Spataro said...

Sam, wonderful post. I love knowing where bloggers are from, something personal about them, likes and disliks, it makes it more real. I have to admit I still identify my home as NY even though I've been living in Phoenix for a couple of months. I provide an "about me" page for more info.

I won't post is my age! Vanity is a funny thing at a certain age ;-)

rokh said...

now i am inspired to write my about page. :)

paul said...

As someone without an about page on my food blog (but with one a level up on my regular blog) I think it's important for a food blog to have it's location fairly clear.

I've seen a few blogs that review restaurants and shops where I need to Google the names to find out where they are.

Food is inevitably tied in to a region, and while your background and culture is important, where you are will have just as much an impact on your definition.

Vanessa said...

it sounds like all you really want is context, which is something i understand and completely agree with. as paul has mentioned, when it comes to restaurant reviews it's important to know its location as it will often be part of determining if you can even visit the place at all. but more than that, knowing some background of the writer can connect you more with their experience at the restaurant and help you to identify with them more.

i mean, a blog is a personal account of the part or whole of someone's life... why be afraid to share a slice of the bigger picture with your readers? but on that same note, as much as it helps a reader for you to show a focus... the most read blogs i've seen have very open topics within the realm of food and i think that's fine. again, blogs are personal and people change... so i would never expect them to be what they were a few years ago. and for some even a few months ago. as long as i enjoy their writing, i will keep coming back.

FJK said...

Isn't it our personality and our personal views that make us appealing as bloggers? So it is important that readers can get an accurate first impression of you.

I was kind of shy at first revealing my age or even the ages of my kids, since I thought I would seem "too old" for blogging. My blogger "about" blurb does give a lot of my background and aspirations however and I have been disclosing more and more details in my writing as I've gone on and nothing "bad" has happened. Maybe it is time to rethink a rewrite of the old "about" write up and include more personal data.

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