Wednesday, November 30, 2005

EXCUSE ME, I'M TAKING A SURVEY?


more at eleven
Originally uploaded by macwagen.

Ever since I was a kid, I've loved conducting little polls. In the sixth grade, I'd take an official looking notebook to school every Friday and take my survey of the week. (Even back then, I wasn't quite normal.) But since my polls were of the one-question variety, the other kids humored me.

Sometimes I asked easy questions about favorite TV shows, the first movie that ever made you cry, or the best song you ever heard. On Monday mornings, Miss Iantoni, my indulgent sixth grade teacher, would put the results of my weekly poll on the board.

Other surveys, however, were less suitable for the blackboard. There was my make-out survey, for instance: had you or hadn't you? If yes, with how many people? If no, did you want to? Did you ever dream you were? (Even at that young age, I suspected the boys lied.) That was one of my only multiple question surveys, but since it was such an interesting topic to the pre-pubescent set, everyone participated.

Another time I asked my classmates who they liked best in the class. Amazingly enough, the most "popular" kids didn't turn out to be the most well-liked. A chubby girl with a huge nose and a killer sense of humor who never wore the right clothes won hands down. That result, which proved that popularity often had more to do with percieved power than with true affection, was a sixth grade epiphany for me. It still is.

This summer, decades from sixth grade in years, but apparently not in maturity, I took up my old hobby. This time, I took my polls on a waitress pad at the country club where I worked. I surveyed things like the dancing song most commonly played at weddings (Love Shack) the favorite flower chosen by brides as a centerpiece (blue hydrangeas) and the likelihood of the maid of honor crying if she gave a toast (90%).

But the question that proved to be the most interesting was this one: Would you rather work with a lovable fool or a competent jerk? (The lovable fools won by a two to one margin, with the answers revealing more about the respondant than the issue, i.e. lazy people were much more inclined to work with a jerk if it increased their opportunities for sloth, optimistic types believing that fools could be trained, etc.)

Well, I guess you can tell where this is leading. Now that I don't have classmates or even co-workers anymore, looks like I'm going to have to play my pollster games right here. My first weekly question concerns our common preoccupation: blogging.

What makes you most likely to return to a blog:

a) the writing style of the blogger

b) pertinent links and information

c) a "blog relationship" developed through mutual visits and comments

d) fresh and original content

43 comments:

garnet david said...

Oh goody, I get to go first! I'd say a, c and d, in that order. I go for style, then relationship, then content.

PS the symphonic poetry carnival is up at Glitter Lane. I hope you come enjoy the melodies.

G

Sharon Hurlbut said...

Oh, definitely A. There's not enough time to do nearly all the things I want - I'd never waste it on a boring blog whose style I didn't like.

Rexroth's Daughter said...

It's A and C for me. If I had to narrow it down to just one, it would be A. I love well-written posts.

Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

What makes me return to a blog number one is writing style, and then pertinent links, but the style alone will keep me coming back.

mike said...

I hate to be the awkward one, but it's a mixture of all four, which differs according to the blog in question. The key unifying factor? It's a simple one: I'll keep returning to a blog if I simply HAVE to know what the blogger is going to say next.

Sherry said...

d, then a, I think. Content is important, and so is the way you say it. The links I can find for myself if I have to.

Joel said...

This is a tough one. I really don't know what makes me visit a blog repeatedly. I'm just not a very good categorizer, but I can be a great friend and a compassionate thinker.

tom said...

You must have lots of fun with this surveying quirk-ity.....My choice is the style, especially since I have seen so many poorly written pieces on the web.....
Equate this to a popular tv show or actors' work or music group....style is what catches your eye, then the skill is what keeps you coming back....
So style first, then substance....without the first, one seldom gets to the second, but substance can be oh, SO boring without some zip in the old doo-dah.

tom said...

oops forgot to give my blogsite, in case anyone wants to check it out....c'ya (tomsbooomertimes)

Melly said...

a,c,d,b in that order.

Hi Patry :)

mamalujo1 said...

Writing style. Like yours.

matt said...

B.

not so much the links, but the information (that is, content) probably has to come first. if i don't care about what you're saying/what your blog is "about," it's not going to matter how well it's written.

as for the relationship aspect of the blogosphere, i'm going to visit blogs of friends, relatives, etc., regardless. (although, after coming across a blog that meets all the above requisites for enjoyment, developing a relationship with the blogger certainly helps my desire to return.)

fresh and original content? again, if it's not interesting to me (this is the main symptom displayed by anyone living in what i call the "that's stupid" era - that is, everyone) i'm not going to come back, no matter how fresh or original.

and that's my two cents.

matt said...

p.s. stuff like amuzing surveys are also helpful. in this case, i am already anticipating next week's. i just love a good hook.

matt said...

(seriously, did i just write "amuzing"? goodness, where has my ability to spell gone?)

Vickie said...

I'd like to say "C", but "D" is more honest for me.

Donna said...

Good question. It's "a" and "d" for me. I'll come back to your site for both.

Quillhill said...

Agree with Sherry. Give me not necessarily original content, but an original insight into things, whether new or old, and in an engaging style. The relationship, one hopes, develops over time. I never return to a blog that has day after day of links to other sites.

rdl said...

a,c,and d in that order.

Emily Lloyd said...

Mainly D, which is why I prune old posts of my own (or delete them all)...I realize: wow: there is absolutely nothing fresh & original and worth saving going on here. (and no, I'm not begging a compliment [grin]) I haven't been an "up to my own standards" blogger since early last spring...I'll hope I'll get back there eventually.

By the way, I'm survey-obsessed, too. Keep On Askin'.

Patry Francis said...

This is turning out to be way more fun than it ever was in sixth grade! Thanks for all the insightful responses. I'll post the tally and the conclusions I drew from it next Wednesday...or you can just read the comments and draw your own.

Carol Peters said...

D is it. Through blogs I meet people who track interesting things. After that, it's not writing style as much as the ability to write -- clarity, sense -- that keeps me coming back.

Different rules apply to blogs of family and friends. I go because I love them.

Dale said...

c, d, a, b.

I'm assuming here you mean "return repeatedly." What brings me back a second time is most often fresh thoughts and compelling style. After that, though, it's the relationship that matters.

(Though really I think it's virtual pheromones, and we just make up the reasons later.)

Anna Piutti said...

C,a,d,b...I guess ;)

Stephanie said...

I'd say it's all about relationships for me, baby.

1000 black lines said...

A, B, C, D... in that order.

And yeah, blue hydrangeas are great! Planted two this summer.

Lux said...

a) the writing style of the blogger

I'll be back!

MB said...

A and D in turn help build C. And I think it's really C that brings me back, but A and D have to be there, too. But there's another factor not listed here, which is key for me: some point of common interest. B is bonus, but not central, normally... unless that's the sort of blog it is (thinking boingboing or something), but then I tend to go back only sporadically to that sort of thing. So yeah, relationships, once the common interest and style are established and there continues to be something new to talk about. (Can you tell I'm not a terribly linear thinker? More spiral...)

Fer instance, I admire the way you respond to your commenters.

Diana said...

A and D (in that order). I put D second because a good writer can make almost anything "fresh and original."


(I think I learn the most from one blogger I regularly read, who's not on my blogroll or in any way publicised by me, who regularly makes everything she writes about seem like the dullest subject possible. It's her lack of writing skills. Not grammar and word usage, but the ability to find the interesting nugget in her day. She totally lacks that and I keep going back to her as a lesson in what not to do. Isn't that horrible? But if you can't find the interesting in your own life, how do you expect your readers to?)

Benny said...

a, c, and d.

Sara said...

Actually, it's the love. Of course, I only visit blogs that are well written, and I come here because you're a great writer, but you wouldn't be without the love. The content happens, too, because of the love. Loveless sites -- and I visit one or two -- get boring more quickly than others.

Here at this blog, besides the love, the power of your writing is mostly about the composition, how you frame the content. And yes, you do it lovingly, and originally.

Meanwhile, being able to tell you how much I love things that you write is nice, but even if I couldn't comment, I would still visit. Yeah, you're that good. That's why I'll definitely be buying your book when it comes out, after all.

Cheers!

Peter said...

c, a, d.

And lots of it all here!

Anne Bauer said...

A, B, C and D. And you've got all of them.

PS I temped at the local fire station one summer -- not only are firefighters genuinely nice people -- they tend to be awfully cute and yeomanly. :)

Natalie said...

D and C for me.

qB said...

a) and d) which lead to c). Although I like links too.

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