Saturday, May 7, 2011

Image courtesy of
Authentic Blogger
Did you know that moving ranks in the Top 3 most stressful events that can hit an individual's life? The other two are death and marriage. I, for one, am not a fan of moving. I know many people enjoy it, see it as an adventure and embrace all the nuances of change that come along with the experience. I accept that type of change grudgingly, although with age and time, I have found a way to cope better than I used to.

So, with that being said, imagine a dramatic drumroll as I announce with a flourish (because there simply must be a flourish) that Authentic Blogger has moved its presence on Facebook from the original group format to a new Page format.

Why have we chosen to make this move? Good question. The answer is that Facebook, in its infinite wisdom, recently made the arbitrary decision to do away with the original Facebook group format. They created a new and improved group format a couple months ago and apparently have decided that the common response to that new format has been sufficient to put a kill on the old group format. Those of us who "own" groups in the old format have been advised to either upgrade to the new group format, or allow our group page to eventually be archived by Facebook. We gave it some thought - by "we", I mean that I and the wonderful people who help me at Authentic Blogger, Dave Roy and Anahid Boghosian - and decided to not upgrade to the new group format. We decided, instead, to switch to a Facebook Page format and we published that page to live status on Facebook today. Although many of our members like the new group format, we felt that changing over to a Page format will best serve the goals we have in place for the future of the Authentic Blogger concept.

So, a few things are important to impart. The most important one is that Authentic Blogger hasn't changed in any way except for our "physical" address on Facebook. We are still the same blogging concept that all our members have grown to know and love.

  • We still advocate authentic interaction with fellow bloggers, suggesting that you take time to truly read content of blogs you follow, and take time to leave thoughtful comments on those posts.
  • We strongly do NOT encourage the "if you follow me, I'll follow you" mentality that is rampant in the blogging world.
  • We embrace building relationships with fellow bloggers.
  • We pledge to continue to provide a community and forum to mentor, support and encourage all bloggers on a worldwide platform.
Being the creature of habit that I am, I resisted this Facebook change for as long as possible. In fact, had Facebook not pushed the issue, I probably would still have happily kept the original group format in place for Authentic Blogger. Change, while perhaps not always comfortable, is obviously a good thing. It forces us out of complacent behavior and bad habits. It opens up new avenues, creates new relationships and experiences and provides fresh, new energy. With that in mind, I should be welcoming this new experience for Authentic Blogger with open arms. Well, don't get me wrong - I do see the value in this new chapter for us. That doesn't mean I'm all happy and chirpy about it.

I'm nervous as all get out, if I'm honest. We founded Authentic Blogger in December of 2009, with big dreams and little idea of what we were doing. To our surprise and delight, the concept caught on and was embraced immediately, and our presence in the blogging world began to grow. We set goals for membership and continued to be thrilled when those goals were not only met, but exceeded regularly. We've gone through many growing pains and changes in the past two years, and we continue to learn as we grow. I recognize that we'll grow in a positive manner from this change also. My own biggest concern is that we don't backslide. At our highest point of membership, our original group page had grown to 793 members. Now we're back to starting from zero with membership of this new page, and that's the part I can't help but focus on. Yes, there's an element of ego involved, I admit this freely. I am justifiably proud of what we have achieved with the Authentic Blogger concept, and it is important to me that we continue to stay at that high level of success.

Should I predicate our success on a membership number? No, I shouldn't. Do I? Yes, to a degree. I can't deny that I loved, and still love, watching our membership increase. The thought of losing all that momentum with membership during this move was not something I was happy about. I can report that as of approximately 8pm, EST, May 7, 2011 when we published the new Authentic Blogger FB Page, our membership has been busily zipping along and increasing at a rapid pace. That response is wonderful to see, and I'm happy to recognize many familiar faces of fellow bloggers hitting our new Page wall. In the coming days, I'm sure we'll continue to grow. I hope we'll be back to, or close to, our middle 700 membership in a couple of weeks. I realize that if we're not, I shouldn't internalize that or take it personally, and I'll do my best to heed my own advice. We've already received a ton of encouragement from the Facebook blogging community at large and that's just heartwarming! I have always looked at all the other Facebook blogging groups as a collaborative effort. There are a few who choose to be exclusionary, but the majority of them are driven by other wonderful bloggers who embrace the concept of helping one another.

For those who are members of our original Facebook group page for Authentic Blogger, you will find when you visit that page in the coming weeks that you can no longer post links on our wall. We disabled that feature and have posted the new link to direct you to our new Facebook Page for Authentic Blogger. We plan to leave the old group page up and running for a couple more weeks so that people who may have missed all the alerts and posts about the move will be able to find us. We also sent out an email to all original Authentic Blogger group members with all the details, explanations and the new Page link to find us. We hope that this move will cause a minimum of fuss and confusion and that all our friends and followers will be able to easily find us, Like our Page and get back to the regular business of posting their links on our wall and interacting with fellow members of our community.

In closing, we hope this minor change will not be a hindrance to the growth of the Authentic Blogger community. We value each and every blogger who has joined us, as you are the people who have helped us continue to grow, learn and succeed. We hope everyone will help us to get the word out about our new Page location on Facebook by sharing the link on your Twitter and Facebook walls. To make that easier for you, our unique username on Facebook is Feel free to grab the link and share with your blogging friends! In the immortal words of Dorothy and Glenda, the Good Witch,

Photo - Bing images

"...there's no place like home....there's no place like home..."

We look forward to welcoming you back to the new home of Authentic Blogger on Facebook. See you there!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spotlight monthly series!

Photo courtesy of
Bing images
When I first began blogging back in 2009, I was literally overwhelmed with all that I had to learn about the blogging process. I dove in and did quite a bit of floundering, but along the way, I connected with a core group of bloggers who have since become dear friends. (The Blogging Class of 2009, Healing Morning, 12/13/2010).

There are many firsts that you experience with your blog. One of them is blogging awards. These are fun, informal awards that different bloggers create, along with an award icon and a set of criteria for each award recipient to follow. I clearly remember the first time I was given one of these awards - I was very happy to learn that other bloggers were reading my work and enjoying it enough to offer a symbol of recognition. The downside of these blog awards is that they become viral in a very short period of time, with many people sending you the same award and overloading your page. I have given this concept a lot of thought over the past two years, and I believe I've come up with my own version that works for me.

Blogging itself is cyclical. You'll find yourself interacting and connecting with your own core group of blogging friends. These are the people who you'll turn to for advice on programming the newest gadgets/widgets and applications on your blog. They're also the ones that you'll trust to give you honest, sincere critiques when you make changes to your formatting. So, obviously, it is very important to build that core group for yourself.

It is equally important to continue to broaden your horizons in the blogging world. Keeping your content fresh and new becomes a bit more challenging the longer that you write. So, you'll want to explore new ways of attracting readership. With that in mind, what I decided to do is take that blogging award concept and spiff it up a bit.

I am going to do a monthly "column" here at Healing Morning where I shine a spotlight on five blogs that I enjoy. They may be blogs that I've followed for a while, or they may be blogs I've just discovered. My rules for this are going to be simple. In order for me to pick your blog for this Spotlight On monthly column, I will have the following criteria:

1. Be a member of Authentic Blogger Facebook Group & have the Authentic Blogger button posted on your blog page. You will find our button & the code on the home page, on our right hand sidebar, just below the FB and Twitter share buttons.

2. If you are interested in your blog being posted in an upcoming Spotlight On blog post, shoot me an email with your blog link, make sure you have the Authentic Blogger button posted on your blog page, and I'll add you to my list of prospective blogs.

3. Be an actively involved member of the blogging community. By this, I mean that I will have noticed you writing thoughtful comments on various blogs in the AB community. I really do pay attention to what's going on out there among our group!

4. Upon learning that your blog has been chosen for Spotlight On, take a moment to post the link for this blog on your FB wall, and/or your blog page, if you like. Linking back to Healing Morning will ensure that everyone involved receives that much more traffic to their respective blogs.

5. Visit Healing Morning, follow my blog & leave comments occasionally. This is how I find a lot of really wonderful blogs to follow in return, so it's not as self-serving as it sounds at first glance. If you follow me and comment on my work, that keeps you current in my mind, and I'm more likely to visit your blog in return.

That's it! Short and sweet criteria that's easily met. I hope that everyone that I spotlight in this column will enjoy the attention and gain followers for their blog. I was encouraged and helped by many wonderful bloggers when I first ventured into the world of blogging. This is my way of saying Thank You to everyone who spends time at Healing Morning and at Authentic Blogger.

I will post this monthly column at both Healing Morning blog and at the Authentic Blogger sister blog, as well as several other blogging forums. The spotlighted blogs will benefit from this publicity and reach a much wider audience as a result.

So, for the inaugural Spotlight On post, these are the five blogs I have chosen:

Derek's Home and Business Blog, author Derek Jones. Derek and I connected perhaps a month ago, and I have been extremely impressed with his informative content. If you're looking for a blog that gives you the newest updates on blogging tips, SEO and SEM as well as IT information, look no further. Derek is one that you'll want to follow. I subscribe to his email feedburner option so that I receive every new blog that he posts directly to my Inbox.

Living with Food Allergies and Celiac Disease, author Mary Hudak Collins. Mary is a Mom with two children, one of which suffers from food allergies and Celiac disease. I find her content to be very well written and calm in approach. She offers realistic, logical solutions and tips in her blog posts. She's also very good about reciprocating with fellow bloggers, and I enjoy her thoughtful comments that she offers on my own work.

Anna of Alaska, author Anna L. Walls. Anna was one of the first group of members to join Authentic Blogger back in 2010, and she's been a strong member ever since. Anna is a published author as well as writing two successful blogs. She has a quirky, delightful sense of humor and offers a fascinating window into what life is like living in Alaska.

The Widow Lady, author Lisa Brandel. Lisa was also one of our earliest members at Authentic Blogger. Her blog is a valuable resource and forum for people who are dealing with loss of a loved one, or who are dealing with being a caretaker of a loved one. It might sound as though visiting her blog would be a sad experience, but the exact opposite is true. Lisa writes about all manner of topics that are grief related, and they range from funny, to dramatic, to educational, to downright absurd, and they address those topics that many shy away from. Lisa also invites many of her followers to do guest posts on The Widow Lady.

Fireside Moments, author Anahid Boghosian. Anahid is one of our wonderful admins over at Authentic Blogger & was also a very early member of our group. Her blog covers a wide range of topics, from ruminations on current events, to helpful posts that cover a lot of blogging IT tips, to very funny content. Anahid is one of my favorite people in the blogging world & I always enjoy reading her perspective.

I hope you'll all take time to visit these five blogs, read their content, and if you enjoy what you find, follow them. These five blog author fit what I consider to be the epitome of Authentic Bloggers and I am proud to call each of them blogging friends.

~ Dawn
Author, Healing Morning blog
Co-founder, Authentic Blogger FB Group

Monday, August 2, 2010

Authentic Blogger's Monthly Featured Blog Author

 Authentic Blogger (FB group page), in conjunction with our sister blog, The Authentic Blogger is proud to announce this month's recipient of our Monthly Featured Blog Author Award!

**As of late 2010, we decided to take a break from the monthly award process. We will resume this award process in the near future.**

Congratulations to...

**Go to the Authentic Blogger Discussion Board to access the criteria for being chosen as the next recipient of this award.
See our Blog Award Roll below to read the weekly updated list of past recipients:

Duane Scott & Dawn S.
Co-Creators, Authentic Blogger FB group
Duane Scott, Author, Duane Scott blog
Dawn S., Author, Healing Morning blog

Weekly Featured Blog Author

Blog Author                          Award Date               Featured Blog
Mitzi Rice                               8-02-10                     Daily Reflection
Savira Gupta                           7-01-10                     Living Laughing Breathing
Chip Etier                               6-01-2010                 Etier Photography
Mansi Bhatia                           5-01-2010                 First Impressions
Anahid Boghosian                   4-01-2010                 Fireside Moments
Lisa Brandel                            3-02-2010                The Widow Lady
David Roy                              2-07-2010                 Dave's Buttoned-Up Mind
Sharon Cohen                         1-30-2010                 By These Fruits
Marie Blackstock Rhoades      1-23-2010                 Sally the Sea
Jenn Boyer                              1-15-2010                Heart, Mind and Soul
Bill Bruner                               1-08-2010                Journey to Joy

If you have been chosen as an Authentic Blogger Monthly Featured Blog Author, please grab the button below to post on your blog!  Congratulations again!

Authentic Blogger

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Twitter for Bloggers

For those of you who know me, you know how much I hated Twitter. It felt like such a pointless thing. Did I really care what my friends were up to 24/7?
"Bob: I just woke up."
"Bob: I'm eating breakfast."
"Bob: Off to work."
"Bob: The weather is so nice!"

Although the company started out as a way for people to let their friends know what they were up to, Twitter users have taken it into a whole different direction (in a good way of course). You still have those users who think it's important to let everyone know what they're doing all the time, like our friend Bob up there. Then there are other users who use Twitter to relay information (i.e. breaking news stories, marketing, etc.). Being a blogger, I'm going to be focusing on the usefulness of Twitter in the blogging world.

What is Twitter?
The simplest way I can describe Twitter to you is this: Think of it as the status update portion of Facebook. If the only thing you were allowed to do on Facebook was to update your status, and nothing else, you would have Twitter. It is also a means to share and receive information with millions of people across the globe, at the same time. It's a place to connect with people, celebrities, sports players, businesses, and more!

I have NetworkedBlogs, Facebook, RSS Feeds, etc. Do I really need Twitter too?
YES! The number one thing any Blogger needs is an audience. The more platforms of exposure you have for your blog, the better. Twitter is a great way to let people know whenever you have new posts. Your readers can follow you (subscribe) on Twitter and can even choose to get your tweets on their mobile phone. They can also "retweet" your post and share it with their followers, giving you an even bigger audience.

"Retweet" my posts? You lost me there!
Anytime you tweet (post) something, anyone who sees your tweet can retweet (repost) what you said. Basically they can share your post with their friends/followers by reposting it. There are two ways to retweet a post: copying and pasting what the person said and putting "RT" before the tweet; or using the retweet button provided by Twitter. I will give an example of the manual (copy/paste) retweeting because the latter is done automatically by Twitter.

Original post: Bob: check out my new blog post on friendship
Retweeted post: Bill: RT @Bob: check out my new blog post on friendship

In the above example, Bob shared with his followers that he has a new blog post and he provided the link. Bill, who is following Bob, liked the post so he retweeted what Bob said. Now Bill's followers will see Bob's blog post and if they like it, they in turn will retweet it as well. Do you see the picture here? If you are a blogger and don't have a Twitter account yet, I suggest you take a moment to open up a new browser tab and sign up.

Why am I seeing tweets with the # symbol?
The # symbol, or better known as hashtags, is a way to tag your tweets. Think of it as Labels (if you use Blogger), or Categories (if you use Word Press). It's a way for people to easily find tweets related to a certain topic or a major event that's going on around the world. One of the most common ones you will see every Friday is #FF or #FollowFriday. This is a great thing that started on Twitter where each Friday Twitter users will mention various people they follow and put one of the two follow friday hashtags in their tweet. It can provide exposure to your account and can increase your follower base.

Another great use of hashtags is labeling your posts. Let's take our example from earlier:

Bob: check out my new blog post on friendship

If Bob wanted to increase exposure, he could add a hashtag to his post which would allow others, who might be searching for that particular topic, come across his tweet. Bob could change his tweet to the following:

Bob: check out my new blog post on friendship #friendship
Bob: check out my new blog post on #friendship

Now anyone who searches on twitter for #friendship, will come across his tweet. Of course all of this applies to public tweets. There are also specific hashtags, like the follow friday ones, that are used during particular events. For example, during the Presidential Inauguration if your tweet was about the event, the hashtag to use was #inaug09. During the Iranian elections, people were using the hashtag #iranelection. For Authentic Blogger, a wonderful group of bloggers I belong to, we have decided to use the hashtag #ABauthor with our tweets. Be sure to search for the #ABauthor hashtag on Twitter to be kept up to date with new blog posts by Authentic Blogger members.

Public Tweets?
Although Twitter allows users to make their accounts private, I think it should be done away with. All of the above that I said doesn't apply to you if your account is private. By protecting your tweets, especially as a Blogger, you are limiting your audience, and as I mentioned earlier the number one thing we want is exposure. No one will mention your profile on Follow Friday because people aren't going to be able to easily follow you. In fact, most people tend to stay away from private accounts. It become more difficult to retweet your posts because you made your account private. Your followers don't know if it's okay to retweet what you said, even if it's a link to your new blog post, putting them in an awkward place.

When you use hashtags in your tweets, they won't show up when people search because your tweets are private. Twitter is not like Facebook where you want to know who people are before you approve them. You share far more on Facebook than you do on Twitter, so naturally most people make their Facebook accounts private. There's nothing to hide on Twitter, it's just your updates. There are no photo albums, wall posts, etc. It is the most public forum you will ever come across and it's best to make your account public. If you are afraid of spammers following you, it's not that big of a deal. You just look over the list of people following you and when you come across a spammer, just report the account as spam and it will remove and block that person from your profile.

Final Thoughts:
For those of you who are part of the tweeting world, keep on tweeting and sharing your new posts. For those of you who aren't too fond of Twitter, and might even hate it like I once did, I hope this helped to change your perspective by seeing the usefulness of it for your blog. Remember that a blog needs an audience like peanut butter needs jelly!

Anahid Boghosian
Author, Fireside Moments blog
Follow Anahid on Twitter

Monday, February 1, 2010

Blog Award Positivity, Part II

Hey, we're getting some very cool attention from fellow bloggers!  Recently, perhaps in the past three weeks or so, there has been a flurry of fun Blog Awards circulating out in the blog-o-sphere.  A few of these nice awards have been bestowed upon Authentic Blogger to recognize our efforts at creating a welcoming, friendly community for all things bloggish.  These Blog Awards usually come equipped with a "pay if forward" list of instructions, requesting that the recipient list their Top 5-10 favorite blogs along with the reasons these are their favorites, and then go on to list a Top 10 list of some interesting personal content.

Marty and I are very appreciative and flattered that Authentic Blogger and our sister blog here, The Authentic Blogger are both garnering attention in the blogging world.  We do feel, however, that as Authentic Blogger exists to support all bloggers, it wouldn't be fair, or professionally correct for us to single out our Top 10 favorite blogs.  Heck, come to think of it, that would be an exercise in torture, because we have hundreds of AB authors in our community - it would be impossible to narrow a list down to a Top 10.

So, here's what we've decided to do:  we're going to offer a heartfelt Thank You to everyone who very kindly gave us a nod of recognition with these fun awards.  We are then going to embrace the latter of the instructions above and throw out our own fun list of "stuff".  Since there are two of us, it's going to be a respective Top 5.  Keep reading to see what each of us come up with, because they may be on completely opposite ends of the spectrum!

Dawn's Top Five....Non-Blog Related Things That You Might Not Know

1. I am an Olympics fanatic, it is true.  Those who know me well are quite aware of this trait.  The Winter Olympics begin on February 12th and last for two weeks.  During these two weeks, everyone knows to not invite me to dinner, or call me on the phone in the evenings - I will be occupied watching the Olympics each night.  Yes, I'm serious.  I'm more patriotic than most, and the Olympics are a special, bright moment for the world.  Expect to see an upcoming blog on this topic, no joke!

2.  I have an absolute horror of certain non-words and firmly believe that when written or uttered aloud, the person perpetrating this horror and the ones they're communicating with cease to exist for a nanosecond.  It forms a Black Void. 

3.  Similarly, I believe there is some truth to the belief that our car keys, socks in the laundry, cell phones, etc., disappear randomly because there are troops of Elfs that live in our homes.  Think about it, peeps, it makes sense!  Where DO those missing socks go, and who took them, if not the Sock Elfs?  Car Key and Cell Phone Elfs are merely a sub-union - same local Union Hall.

4.  Paging through seed catalogs in preparation for spring container planting on my apartment patio is a simple joy.  Tomatoes of several varieties, cucumbers and possibly some small melons are on my list this year.

5.  It bugs my artistic eye when people wear two shades of black that clash.  Yes, it is possible for black to exist in differing shades.  Good example was a friend at lunch the other day (whom shall remain nameless) who was wearing a pair of black slacks that had an underlying purple tint to the black, while their sweater was a shade of black w/ green undertones.  Of course, I've walked out of the house wearing socks of two different shades - like green and dark brown (not a morning person, so it happens) - so who am I to criticize?!

Marty's Top 5...Non-Blog Related Things That You Might Not Know

1. Haha. This is going to be fun. Some of the things I won't write on my personal blog, I'll write here. Why? Because my family isn't reading. I collect trolls. You know the ones with the long, different colors of hair that are buck-naked? They still make me smile, they are so happy to go commando.

2. I am entirely hopelessly lost without my phone. I use it for my alarm clock, email, FB, Twitter, GPS, Blogging on the go, Throttlecopter game, Bible, Dictionary... well, you name it, I have it. Check it out here! And yes, I have this stand for beside my bed.

3. I dislike Walmart. I only use it when I'm depressed about myself and my situation. I go there and look at the flustergasted parents with screaming kids, the couples that are trying to decide which cheap, flat bed pillows to buy, or the poor people buying that fall-apart furniture.  I immediately feel better about my life.

4. I clip my toenails only when they start poking holes in my socks. I'm perfectly clean and manicured otherwise. I know, it's awful, but I'm always running late after I take a shower and toenails can be hidden by socks. :)

5. I can hardly ever remember which cables go where when jump-starting a car. I'm so embarrassed to admit this, but at one point, I googled it.... on my phone.

Dawn S.
Author, Healing Morning blog
Marty D.
Author, Coffee with Marty blog 
Co-creators, Authentic Blogger Facebook Group
Co-authors, The Authentic Blogger Blog

Thursday, January 28, 2010

News Clippings

News Clippings

We (Marty & Dawn) are very happy to report that our Authentic Blogger Facebook group page, and our sister blog here, The Authentic Blogger, have now reached enough of a level of saturation in the blogging world that we are beginning to get some very kind mentions in other blogs, various blog sites and groups. 

Because we're thrilled to know our efforts are appreciated, and also because we want to mark those important milestones in our history, we have created this new Header on the AB blog page, called News Clippings.  We will, with the consent of the authors of any blogs mentioning us, post links here to share when we are mentioned in blogs, articles or anything else in the blogging world.

If you happen to run across anything of this nature, please contact us at and let us know!  We'll make sure to investigate and post a link!  This will garner attention and publicity for us, sure, but also for the authors of the blog posts/articles. 

Lastly, a very warm thank you to all of the people who have written about us, and a thank you in advance to those who may do so in the future.  We both work very hard to make this community the best one out there in the blogging world, and appreciate that our efforts are garnering some attention. 

Marty & Dawn
Co-creators, Authentic Blogger FB group, The Authentic Blogger
An Amazing Discovery  Calming Reflections blog, author, Bernadine Barela

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Swampige is the topic

What the heck is swampige?!  You're asking that right this instant, aren't you?  Well, my friends, "swampige" is a handy term that my partner, Marty D. (Coffee with Marty) coined for all the endless buttons, links, gadgets, widgets...and...swampige that clutter up people's blog pages!  We were discussing the whole phenomenon several weeks ago and he ended up posting a comment on a discussion board thread with the word swampige being the crowning effective end to the statement.  I thought it was a perfect slang term for this visual overload that exists rampantly in blog page format.

I'm sure you know of which I speak - you've probably clicked to pull up someone's blog page for the first time and found yourself visually assaulted by the equivalent of screaming neon signs in gadget/widget/button format.  I know I've experienced it.  As with my opinion about posting blog articles every single day, I'm also not a fan of cramming buttons, widgets....SWAMPIGE....into every last little available square inch of your blog page.  The fact is, I'm not there to bounce elsewhere continually on a widget induced frenzy - I'm there to read your blog content.  Yes, peeps, I do read content, and if I like said content, I will probably want to follow your blog.  UNLESS there's so much swampige in the way that I can't find the follow option!

Case in point, earlier today I read a blog that I sincerely enjoyed, so much so that I wanted to follow that blog immediately.  This particular blog is in Word Press format, and I have to say that I find swampige to be more prevalent in WP blogs.  This is just an observation, not a written in stone fact.  At any rate, this blog had so much swampige cluttering the whole danged page that after scrolling up, down and sideways all over the page four different times, I still couldn't find the follow option.  Needless to say, after that much energy wasted, I gave up the ghost and moved on to other things. I am the first to admit that I'm not the strongest IT literate blogger out there, but seriously, if the swampige gets in the way that much, you have a problem!  It was like the proverbial Town Crier was on the church steps, screeching his lungs out about everything but the blog content and following option. This is my personal dislike for swampige - it just gets in my way of accomplishing what I visited the page to do.

I also prefer for the design of my personal blog, Healing Morning, to reflect the overall personality of my content.  It doesn't make sense for me to have a lot of visual distraction going on all over the sidebars when my focus is on communicating and discussing topics regarding peace, healing, spirituality and holistic issues.  Your blog may be about technical content, computer-related issues, or something that does suit the visual presence of every bit of flashy, snazzy swampige you can wrangle onto your page.  The good old Theory of Relativity kicks in and rules the day on this topic.  It is an individual choice.

I am not saying that I think gadgets, widgets and buttons should cease to exist.  To the contrary, there are many of them that serve a valuable service.  I will also say that as I learn more about the useful little creatures, I grow in my appreciation of them.  I do, however, think quite seriously about which ones to incorporate into my blog format.  I do not want a blog page that is so visually chaotic to the viewer that they cannot concentrate on the actual blog posts.  I am willing to bet that people who do embrace the "more is better" principle with this find that they have slower traffic to their blog page, and much shorter time spent per visit.  Think about it - if you're being bombarded by endless bells, whistles, buttons....swampige...on a given blog page, is it easy for you to concentrate on the blog content? 

I could be wrong on this - maybe I'm one of the few who does experience sensory overload and who finds it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand...reading content....if the page is crammed with swampige.  You may feel just the opposite and find all that visual activity enlivens your blog page, gives it movement, personality and excitement.  My personal taste runs to the calmer, more quiet, visually clean type of marketing.  There's a reason why my personal blog title is Healing Morning, after all!

So, weigh in on this topic!  Post a comment and tell us what you think and feel about the reality of swampige.  It is a phenomenon that is here to stay, I can say this with absolute certainty.  How do you choose to design your blog page format - with a select few judiciously placed buttons and widgets?  Or do you like the busy feel of visual activity created by swampige?  As always, there are no right or wrong answers.  I just thought it was the next logical progression of conversation on the heels of Blog Frequency.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts on swampige!

Dawn S.
Author, The Authentic Blogger blog
Author, Healing Morning blog
Co-Creator, Authentic Blogger FB group page