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If You Like MTM, Please Read This

March 5th, 2010 46 Comments

The title of this post started off as “While I Was Brushing My Teeth Tonight” but then I thought to myself, “I actually want them to read this post, and that title is far from compelling, so just tell them to read it.”

But, I’m still gonna entertain you with iPhone pics of me brushing my teeth. Dream come true I’m sure.

It dawned on me earlier that between myself, the bloggers I incorporated in my posts, Nutritionista, and Ron, we posted some quality content on the blog yesterday.   And come to think of it, this week has been pretty solid. However, if readers only spend an average of less than 2 minutes on the home page, you’re missing info we find to be interesting and valuable.

Rebloggers used to give me a hard time for being too fluffy and self-centered, but now people asking for and DEMANDING more pictures and posts about me and Mason.  I mean…I can’t win this battle.

Friday is usually my “Travel” day, which admittedly is the weakest theme, but I’m working on making it stronger.

I realize that most of you have not been reading my blog since the StyleByMaryRambin days and should revisit some of the tips I talked about back then.

All of that being said, I have pretty cool travel tip to share with you today.  I was surprised to see this website that would allow all of you to travel the world like I do (on some level).

But before I do that, I want you to revisit what we at MTM have shared with you over the course of this week that you might have missed.  We put A LOT of effort into this site which right now is yielding us very little rent money.  So since we’re not asking you to pay up, we only ask that you take a minute to read.  I read every one of your emails and personally provide lengthy answers, many times with links to posts I have recently written and you have missed.

So today, travel back through MTM this week and take away a few tips we have loved having in our lives. Below I’ve posted the bottom line, not the title, so you can pick and choose which are most applicable to you.

Fitness:

Fashion:

Living:

Food (scroll down the page) or:

So now that you’ve caught up on what’s going on with us and with you, get back to work!

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  • cate

    hey mary – time spent on pages in all likelihood has to do with the fact that the content you are trying to get to is below the fold, shoved down by the unrelated Hello banner w/ video. At first glance, it’s hard to see if you have even landed on the correct page.

  • This again?

    Agree with cate – the top banner and shill video space take up way too much real estate. Lack of full RSS feeds also inhibits click-throughs to your site.

    If you need to ask people to spend time on your site, you’re not producing compelling content or presenting that content in a compelling way. It’s a pain in the ass, I know, but tweaking your design and theme concepts will work better than browbeating people into clicking your links. The really successful (read: profitable) bloggers first cultivated an audience through true expertise and passion – then the money followed. You’re trying to do both at the same time and it simply does not work that way. You may feel entitled to that rent money because you’re all working hard, but if you’re not working smart and offering something that people want…well, begging online is no more dignified than begging on a street corner. Put your time and effort into reworking your offering.

  • MTM Reader

    I agree with the other two commenters– once you’ve scrolled past the enormous top banner, you see the top article and it’s easy to assume that is the newest article, when there might be three or four below it that we don’t see at first. Could the videos maybe go on a side bar?

  • Arwen

    I think your content is fantastic, but your site isn’t organized in a way that allows me to really tell what’s going on. I know it’s all “right there” but it’s very disorganized and there’s just way too much going on with the homepage at one time. I think spending some time reformatting and reorganizing is in order.

  • Bonnie

    Yes, I agree with the commenters above. Every time I visit, I get overwhelmed by the front page and often end up leaving. I know that sounds silly; I click on a thousand things a day. I can’t articulate exactly how a page should look or what makes it easy too read, but I know this one seems cluttered and counter-intuitive.

    Also, since you are asking for feedback, I’ll tell you that I have followed your blog since pre-NS days. I just found you likeable and relatable. I still do. I’d say I follow you as a personality, as opposed to a writer. I like the videos you do, I enjoy the head to toes and the fitness tips, and your pieces on cooking and food. I also always love it when your mom makes an appearance!

    In this new format, you want to give the readers an experience of reading a magazine by people they come to know. Magazines (print or online) feature better writing and much, much better editing. In the past two weeks, I have started and not finished articles here that start with several cliches in a row and mixed metaphors. As a writer and editor, I find myself mentally cutting 70% of what was written in some of these articles, to leave a clean, snappy feature.

    Nutritionista’s posts are great. Some other articles strike as being on the quality level of keyword filler-text, which I know is not what you intend. I believe your writers may have great personalities or knowledge, but writing is a craft and a skill. I think most of us enjoy blog posts from people who are by no means skilled writers, but that doesn’t work with long-form pieces. And I pointed out other things I really enjoy above.

    If I want a magazine experience, I read Slate, The Frisky, or Narrative to name a few. To be clear, I often make spelling and grammatical errors on my casual blogs that I work to avoid on my professional blog or in print. I also understand that you just expanded and made a lot more work for yourself! Please take this as the cheerleading I mean it to be. I am willing to stick around while you re-find your groove!

    I know in the past you’ve shared with us how much comments can hurt. I don’t want to be hurtful. I apologize if you’d rather I emailed this to you, but you are wondering why we spend less time here, and who knows– maybe another visitor will ring in to disagree with me, and you can take this as just one opinion.

    Please, instead of taking what I’ve written as an insult of any kind, get the opinion of a professional editor who has been in the business for at least a few years. The editing business, I mean. Preferably someone who has edited print, because print standards are higher. Why not hold your web magazine to the editorial standards of print? We are all so excited about the new opportunities and business models on the web. But if this site continues to feature long articles by a variety of writers, the quality needs to improve to keep readers.

    Or! Cut down on article length and do more very short tips and videos. That is where you really shine!

    • I want to respond specifically to your point about writing.

      We are not trying to be journalists or traditional writers. Writing and reporting for print is a whole other ball game than blogging, another specific type of writing which is also not easy to do. Blogging demands a more personal voice and tone while still communicating a message effectively with structure. And like many people pointed it, it MUST be compelling.

      And I said below, I appreciate your constructive feedback and don’t see it as insulting at all.

      Thanks Bonnie.

  • V

    You should go back to full RSS feed posts, if I can’t read the entire post in my reader, I don’t read….

  • a reader

    I totally agree with the other commenters. I liked the old format of MTM (although I think it needed an aesthetic update) – it is way too confusing to find the newest content and the home page is too graphically overwhelming! I have stopped coming as often because it’s difficult to navigate and the actual content isn’t presented in a very aesthetically-pleasing way.

  • Thank you all for taking the time to comment.

    I don’t see your opinions as insults as all. Each of you has offered constructive feedback that I truly appreciate.

    Until now I have only heard a couple of complaints about the new design; most people loved the new layout when they first saw it.

    I agree with many of your comments and have been trying to think of a way to shift this design into something a little more “blog” because that is truly my/our strength.

    I appreciate your comments so please keep them coming.

  • While we’re here talking….

    How would you feel about jumps after a certain number of characters on every post. It would mean you would have to click through to read the whole thing, but there would be more current content featured on the first page.

  • First-time commenter

    I thought the old design needed work, but I did check in frequently for new content. You should listen to people who tell you that it doesn’t work to have new posts below the fold. People read blogs to check in with new content and this design makes it much harder to find what’s new.

    Another big problem here is the three column layout. That contributes greatly to the cluttered feeling. Two column would eliminate so much competing interest.

    Another problem that you’re going to have with the type of blog you’re setting up is how to differentiate posters to your audience. At the moment, all posts look the same, so I don’t know who I’m reading. You’re all obviously different people, but to your audience, it’s just a mish-mash.

    All of this is just to say that you are actually probably making your readers work too hard to find your content, and what’s unique about your blog. You should think about that a bit.

    • Thanks for your feedback. I am taking all of your comments into consideration. I want to find a format that is easy to enjoy.

      My goal here was to try to make it easier to find what’s new by having the left column list the latest posts in each topic. But I hear what you’re saying, for most readers who come often, it’s not necessary.

  • MTM Reader

    Mary–I agree that blogging is very different than long-form narrative journalism, and one reason I have followed you for so long is that I enjoy your voice, your candor and your point of view. But part of communicating effectively is checking simple aspects like spelling and punctuation–each error is a distraction that jolts us out of the flow of your writing, which is something no writer wants, no matter your medium.

    Thanks for being so interested in engaging with your readers on this issue–another reason I’ve remained a fan is your openness to constructive feedback!

    • You know what the ironic thing is….
      I am a stickler for spelling and grammar when I edit other people’s work. Which is why I am always shocked when I re-read some of my posts and just shake my head.

      There really is no excuse, and please trust me when I tell you I try my best to make sure each post is correct. But no one is perfect… I truly wish I had an editor for my work.

  • Whatevs

    I don’t care at all about misspellings and typos. They are frequent here, but not egregious. Research shows (and I agree) that occasional mistakes endear the writer to the reader.

  • Bonnie

    Mary,

    Thanks for responding to comments. I agree with you and the other commenter who said that standards are different for blogging– and I agree! I really follow bogs for the personalities, tips, and slices of life. My above comment was not a call to arms for everything on the internet to be held to print standards. In fact, I believe the way people write on the internet is influencing language overall. The reason I wrote so much about the quality of writing is that, to my understanding, the new MTM is being presented as more than a blog. It is literally being presented as an online magazine.

    I read lots of personal blogs and would never dream of commenting on someone’s grammar or lack thereof. Pure expression can delight me is short off-the-cuff bursts.

    But when articles on MTM got longer, and you added more writers, quality began to matter in a different way. And honestly, I can over look spelling errors and that sort of thing, even in a longer article online. I agree with Whatevs, the occasional quirk or mistake can be endearing, but not when something is presented as a more professional magazine with articles rather than personal posts. Maybe that’s it. If your new writers were just writing about themselves, lives, or opinions, it wouldn’t bug me as much, but the pieces seem to be presented as being informational,

    I’d prefer not be be specific about articles or writers here, but it is more than errors, it is low-quality writing that has made me come less frequently and not stay as long. It almost seemed like they were overworked to appear to be longer, more serious content.

    I hesitate to post a link to my own blog here right in comments, lest you think I am offering feedback as a ruse to get traffic, and I can’t seem to figure out how to get my name to link to it. I feel guilty; you guys ought to have the chance to go over there and point out my error and stylistic weakness, of which I’m sure there are plenty!

    Oh, just put Mason in every post and I’ll never criticize again…

  • Jenny

    Honestly, I’ve been reading since the Style, by Mary days. I like personal blogs. I have absolutely no interest in most of the content you’ve got now. I was interested in your life, and I’ve always skipped the guest posts you used to have up. I have a different lifestyle aesthetic than you, so for those kinds of tips and posts, I go to other sources. I came to you via the trainwreck of JA, but I stuck around because something about you seemed intriguing. Since the change of the site, I find myself visiting much less. Sorry, but I’m just bein’ honest.

    • I appreciate your honesty.

      I brought on the contributors because they are people I look to for guidance. I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t pretend to. The purpose of my site is to share my life and experiences with you. It was my intention that these people could also have a positive influence on your life as well.

      When my posts were self-centered, that was exactly the feedback I received, “You’re so self-centered, and I your opinion is meaningless.” I exaggerate, but that was the bottom line. To some extent, I saw where their point – a bunch of pictures of me, telling MY opinion, and commenting on other people. Now that I have a more well-rounded blog, people want to see more of me.

      I hope you all know I am working to find a formula that fits based on your feedback. And your honesty is greatly appreciated.

  • Kammy

    For me, I enjoy your site because of what YOU write. I’m honestly not that interested in what the other contributors have to say except for Nutritionista and I can just go to her blog. So if I come to your site and it’s not written by you, I usually peace out. And I do agree with the above posts, it’s kinda messy. It’s like when you get to many menu options — not better, just confusing.

  • D

    Hi Mary-
    I have turned into one of your readers who now spends “less than 2 minutes” on your site and have been following you since you began your Tumblr. I agree with the commenters above that the video header is distracting and it’s not as easy to see the latest posts. Spelling, grammar, and writing quality are not issues for me because I don’t read your blog for a magazine type of experience.
    I started reading your blog because I enjoyed reading about you: (your food, exercise, outfits, friends, opinions, etc). I feel like with “More Than Mary” I get a lot less Mary- so I’m less interested. I enjoyed reading the site better when it was more of a glimpse into your life and experiences.

  • Bonnie

    I just checked back to see what other readers had to say. And you know what? They said it more concisely and maybe a little more honestly than me: I like your voice and I come here to see what you’re up to. And when I see a post by someone else I leave. I too read Nutritionista’s blog….

  • Web20Morons

    Oh Mary, I’m going to have fun with you. :)

  • Meg

    ever considered hiring an editor? not snarking, just genuinely curious–is it that expensive to have someone read your work before you hit “post”?

    • As much as I post, yes.

      Plus, you guys are so good at calling out my mistakes.

      Kidding, obviously ;)

  • franchesca

    i’m glad that your readers are being nice, considering your post was rather nasty. honestly, posts like this don’t encourage me to stay. building a successful blog takes a lot of time and doesn’t happen over night. i think you should follow the advice of your readers regarding design and editing and hope for the best. but scolding us like children isn’t going to get the job done.

  • Laila

    “We put A LOT of effort into this site which right now is yielding us very little rent money. So since we’re not asking you to pay up, we only ask that you take a minute to read. ”

    Your sense of entitlement is astonishing. If you want to make the kind of money to pay rent (at your mom’s house?) then create a product that people want. Don’t whine if they don’t like your product.

  • jj

    the pictures of you brushing your teeth are. . . um, weird. are you okay? you’re not, like, julia roberts for us to care about what brushing your teeth might be like. this strikes me as really stuck-up and delusional. plus, they are bad photos. you don’t write well and you don’t take good photos so why devote yourself to this? you seem to only excel at dieting and taking care of your looks. there is a place for that, sadly, in this world.

    • You commented on multiple posts today. While your comments are relevant (although with the harsh undertone we can tell you have no interest in being constructive), they all scream that you don’t enjoy my posts, pictures, opinion…..So why do you visit?

  • Good Advice

    Jesus Christ, Mary, just be yourself and post about that. I don’t know you at all and just wandered over but all this “I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU PEOPLE WANT!!!!!” is ridiculous.
    You’re never going to make everyone happy so BE YOURSELF and f’n enjoy it. Do what you love, talk about that, and the heck with anyone who doesn’t want to read about it (including probably me). There will be people who DO want to read about it and you will find your home there.

    • I don’t think we have to get Jesus involved, but I hear ya :)

      And I wish it were that easy. Truly I do. That just hasn’t been my experience.

      Heck, I’ll work it out. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

  • Having trouble sticking around.

    I started reading your blog several months ago when you had the old design. I liked it because it was about you but not the “i’m so fabulous look at me and my entourage” type of you that you’re now showing on the blog.

    The pictures of you brushing your teeth are really yucky. That’s not the classy, fashion forward, educated, traveled type of person that I come to read. Unless you’ve just gotten to the point where you’re really full of yourself and think your readers like seeing your spitty toothpaste in your mouth? I’m not sure but it’s gross.

    Begging readers to visit all those posts you listed is bad etiquette. Maybe we don’t *want* to read them, hence, the lack of traffic. And like the others said already, your header is too big. And your header went from class (intriguing pic of you, wine, travel, etc.) to something else. Don’t want to sound mean, but it’s not classy with that pic you chose to use.

    I don’t get it when bloggers think to have a more “well rounded” blog, they need to bring on writers. Just do the extra work yourself – it’s what people want and what YOU have do to bring in the money/traffic. And if you don’t have the time to do that, then accept that maybe your blog isn’t going to be a huge moneymaker. Your blog didn’t get to where it is today with your “team” of contributers. It grew because people liked YOUR POSTS but sadly it’s not that anymore. You’re going to lose a lot more readers than you already have if you keep going this way.

    Good luck figuring things out. Hopefully you’ll be reverting back to what MTM was before.

  • jj

    Hi Mary, I’m commenting on multiple posts because. . . well. . . and you should be happy about this: but I’m a frequent visitor. But not a frequent reader. Many of your posts are just unreadable and I can’t stand feeling that embarrassed for you. But there is some of that residual must-watch trainwreck phenomenon that accounts for much of Julia’s traffic too. And I think I can isolate the number one thing that makes people dislike you: the whole Botox, body/weight obsession, devoting-my-life-to-my-looks, sad trophy-wife-without-the-hubby ethic you promote here. This way of thinking is just OUT these days! People are learning to be more comfortable with aging, just being themselves, accepting their body type, and thinking about the world around them rather than just their bodies and faces. I don’t know how it goes down in Houston but you seem almost like a freakshow anomaly in our current world of young, strong, smart women–esp the bloggers. I think none of your readers care about their looks and bodies as much as you do yours! I actually worked in NY with a highly anorexic girl who bookmarked your website as “thinspiration.” This is really sad. You are not doing a service for anyone, but an anti-service. Take a good look at what you’re doing with your life and honestly quit while you’re ahead. . . if this is “ahead.”

    • I agree that the trend in “image” is moving towards being happy with your natural figure instead of super skinny. But that really isn’t completely attached to being “healthy.” True, most people use health as a guise for obsession with food and working out. However, being attentive to nutrition and exercise is part of a lifestyle that has emotional, functional, and anti-aging (as in longevity) befefits that actually outweigh the purely physical effects.

      And if we are discussing reader patterns, the fitness and food posts (healthy or not) are by far the most popular.

      I’m sorry if you disagree with my lifestyle, but as you can see fro
      these comments, people would actually like to see more of “me.” I’m not so sure how I will proceed in that area because as shocking as it may seem, I would rather not be so personally invested in a persona as I do this “brand.” MTM is more of me than most people appear to realize, I can post a picture, but I put every once of myself into MTM.

  • A Real Reader

    Hi Mary,
    Here are some bullet points just because I don’t want to be late to class.

    1. Is this a blog or a business? It can’t be both. If it’s a blog, do what you do. Ignore spelling and grammar, post whatever pictures you want, and just live your life. However, since it seems like you want it to be a business (seeking revenue, having sponsors, etc) you’re going to need to kick it up a notch in terms of spelling, grammar, and content. Write your posts in Microsoft Word and then transfer them over. Write them the night before and then go through and edit the post in the morning before you hit publish. There are a lot of things you can do to edit your content for little money and big results. I agree with the above commenters, errors jolt you from the reading experience.

    2. I stopped reading your posts very thoroughly when Nutritionista was brought on as a contributor to your Tumblr. I really like Nutritionista, don’t get me wrong, but I felt almost spammed with her content since I followed both of you on Tumblr and often saw double posts. With this new host of contributors, I can’t help but also feel like I’m being barraged by content that is uninteresting/irrelevant to me. I’m also a little disappointed to read that you brought on these contributors because you felt you had to due to backlash about your blog being “so conceited” and all about you… hello! that’s what a blog is! People don’t just get respect from people — especially a large audience — they have to command it. And, frankly, by cow towing to the haters, you totally missed an opportunity to say, “Eh, tough titties, I’m going to post on MY blog whatever I want.” Just like the Botox thing. I think your stance on that is kind of bizarre, but ultimately I respect you a lot more for standing up and saying, “You know, I’m going to do this and I’m going to post about it so suck it” than I would have if you had just danced to the cues others threw you like a certain former business partner.

    3. Your blog lacks focus. This is something that I struggle with every time I debate starting up my own, there are too many things I want to talk about and that is NOT marketable for a single blog. I know what blogs I go to for advice on cooking, cleaning, fashion, makeup, etc. I know which blogs I go to for personality, personal blogging (lifecasting I suppose), satire, etc. But rarely, RARELY, do those intersect and converge on one blog. Like, Jordan Reid for example, I find her blog very interesting and I’m quite interested in her as a person. I think she has spunk and interesting things to say, but on her blog… things get so lost in the shuffle. One minute she’s cooking, then restoring a table, then getting an expensive hair treatment, then cooking, then going to fashion week, then posting pictures of her with her husband. And I get confused by what the common thread is. I thought your focus on travel was great on the old Tumblr, and it’s obviously something that you get to experience often and know what you’re talking about. You could go that route. But consistency needs to be there. Check out http://cupcakesandcashmere.com. She’s wonderful, and something about her version of blogging isn’t annoying or necessarily consistent.

    That said, here’s what I would do if I were in your shoes:
    . Edit posts more thoroughly
    . Fix the site layout (yes, we were all wooed by it immediately, but while it is a BEAUTIFUL design, it is not very practical)
    . Be absolutely positively sure that everything that needed to be disclosed was disclosed every single time on every single post it applies to
    . Respect my audience, but first and foremost respect myself. Post content that is genuine, authentic, and reflective of my interests and beliefs.
    . Ditch the contributors, streamline content somehow, and stay consistent to my authentic content and loyal readers.
    . Continue to have an engaging comment section — this is WONDERFUL.
    . Continue to post content — you do this consistently and it is great. A lot of bloggers *ahem* Julia *ahem* have a tendency to post a picture and a one line caption. Ick! I’m so glad you post actual content.

    Anyway, there’s some unsolicited advice from an anonymous source. Feel free to toss it out if you like, but I think it’s what needs to happen to make Mary Rambin a more permanent fixture online. Otherwise, GREAT JOB, Mary.

    • I appreciate you taking the time to articulate what it is you love and dislike. Here are my responses.

      1. In the digital space, you always have to be on the frontier because the market is over-saturated. That being said, I am trying something new. Merging a personality driven blog with a more formal publishing concept successfully hasn’t been done in this form yet. Therefore it’s new for both of us and I appreciate your patience. In general, the blogosphere is making up the rules as we go WHILE our behaviors evolve. Precedents from print don’t apply either so it’s all up in the air.

      2. I didn’t bring on contributors so my blog would be less conceited. Haha. But I guess I see where you would think that. I value their opinion and honesty in my life, so their posts are like an extension of me. Our interests are aligned, they just have a different voice and set of experiences.

      3. My blog is actually very focused. “Lifestyle” is broad, but that’s the way life is. Having a theme per day sets your expectations so you know what you will find when you visit. Sometimes I throw in other things as well, but these days I try to be more strategic. I hope that MTM can be a one-stop-shop for you so you don’t have to surf from site to site, but will develop a relationship with the contributors as you have with me. If you are truly not interested in the others, I will always be the dominant feature here and you can simply scroll past them. You are right that this is rare for a “blog,” which is why I am trying to expand the platform, but unlike magazines that have a large amount of capital at their disposal and can make changes like this seem easy and quick, you will have to be patient as we evolve over a period of time. Change is never easy, and I’m trying to make it as painless as possible. Your honest feedback is VERY HELPFUL!

      Thank you for your time, thoughts, and patience.

  • jj

    Thanks, A Real Reader-I just found my new favorite site.. . http://cupcakesandcashmere.com!! So cute. And SO well-written. That’s the big difference. Well written, legitimately hip, without superficial insecure obsessions that are just embarrassing to witness!

    • Thanks for throwing in the back-handed slap at the end.

      You just discovered a blog you like from a reader who enjoys a site you claim is penned by a person who is “stuck up and delusional.” Surely you see the irony here.

  • Catie

    Someone above made a really good point” some blogs get traffic because of a reality-show-esque “love to hate” or trainwreck quality. Yes, Julia’s blog is probably the best example of that. Non society as a whole, definitely. So Mary you should accept that if you are trying to change your focus, and you mention you have been trying to please readers…. well you are going to lose some traffic if you lose some haters.

    I am confounded by this: “1. I am trying something new. Merging a personality driven blog with a more formal publishing concept successfully hasn’t been done in this form yet. ”

    Let me explain. Julia lost my readership when I saw video of her proclaiming that her readers e-mail her and she e-mails them back and that is “extraordinary.” I think it was during the same talk that she said of NS, “we are literally the first human beings to do this.” She never said what “this” is, but my impression was that she meant the same “this” as you meant above. But I like your blog and I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt.

    Please tell me you don’t really think you are the first person to work with marketing partners to monetize a blog beyond just ads. Please?

    I got the impression that all 3 original non society girls came to the internet and never looked around at what anyone else was doing. What is it that you are doing that is new?

    Experienced bloggers just a few years older than you like Dooce and Maggie Mason, and Pioneer Woman have done what you do. In case I am looking at the wrong aspect of what you do, I’ll throw out some other names: rocketboom? ijustine?

    I think you’ll find lots of bloggers who write about their lives, give honest reviews of products that truly fit their lifestyles, arrange giveaways and prizes, post videos and photos, accept sponsorships…

    And many blogs have more than one contributor and do guest posts. In fact everything I listed has been going on for years.

    It is absolutely possible that I am missing something. And I don’t think it is important to be first at any of this, theres plenty of room on the internet. But when I see you and Julia making these claims (sorry to keep lumping you in with Julia but I know she gave you a start in blogging), it frustrates me because… well, I guess it’s like this. I majored in poetry. My teaches constantly reminded us that to be a good poet, to understand poetry, the number one important thing to do is to read lots and lots of poetry. And understand how poetry got to be where it is now. Otherwise I guess whats to stop a new poet from claiming they are literally the first human being to rhyme?

    So same with the web.

    • Where to start….

      First of all, Julia has done some extraordinary things. Think about what that word means = extra + ordinary. She really has superseded ordinary in all senses of the word. And NS actually is one of the pioneers of a merged lifecasting platform.

      All of the blogs you listed are A) blogs B) based on one person C) monetized. NS expanded the blogging platform to facilitate more than one personality (equally) that focused around one theme. MTM uses a personal blog as the backbone/foundation to create a lifestyle website. My vision of that hasn’t been fully realized still, but I’m working on it. Julia always used Oprah as an example, and I feel that’s the most tangible for people. People loved Oprah and then they started to love her friends. It’s the same principle but executed differently because of the nature of the digital atmosphere.

      You’re correct, the monetetization is the same. This part of the industry is the slowest to evolve because “experiments” can be costly. But, you’re seeing all kinds of movements in social media. Pepsi’s SuperBowl Facebook campaign is one of the most notable in my mind, but there are hundreds of others on many different levels.

      I hope this helps to clarify. Think of it this way. When a designer comes up with a design, they can’t patent it because if another designer changes something by a centimeter it is technically a “new” design. Even though some of my changes might seem small, they are pushing boundaries in the digital space….which is partially (I’m using that word deliberately here) why some readers are uncomfortable.

  • A Real Reader

    Okay, Mary. I really respect your response. The only thing I would just like to clarify is that I DO think having themed days is a terrific idea, however, perhaps having ONE post on that day with links to the different perspectives might be nice? I don’t know, somehow I am missing a lot of posts. When I first read this one I thought, my my that is a LOT of content for one single week. Perhaps paring it down some might help? Having real, thorough content is absolutely key but maybe having so much of it comes across as overwhelming at times.

    Anyway, best of luck!

  • A Real Reader

    Oh, and, yes a “lifestyle” blog is, by nature, all over the place because that IS how life is. However, when it comes to presenting it online, having very focused content is what distinguishes personal blogs from business blogs, that was my point about Jordan. =]

  • Franchesca

    Mary – Just a thought, since you’re unable to reply to specific comments, maybe you should include who you’re talking to. otherwise reading your comments gets kind of confusing

  • jj

    “Think about what that word means = extra + ordinary!” Um, I love Mary giving vocab lessons. Um, what else could the word extraordinary mean, wordsmith?

    And, uh, what is “monetetization?”

    And I’m really sorry but the only thing I noted “A Real Reader” originally saying that was “WONDERFUL” was your comments sections. (Ha, surely you notice the irony now!)
    I know you’re a narcissist but don’t let some encouraging words cloud what readers are really saying: “you’re going to need to kick it up a notch in terms of spelling, grammar, and content” AND “Just like the Botox thing. I think your stance on that is kind of bizarre. . .” sure there’s a “but” coming there, but the point is made. Catie nailed it. You think you are doing something so new, but your readership was on the internet way before you were and so it just sounds sad to hear you think you’re a pioneer. And it’s true that haters are a big part of your readership. As evidenced by much of this sections. . . I know you think it’s full of constructive criticism but I see a lot of jabs, people afraid they’re going to be deleted if they tell you how they really feel (you deleted heavily in the past and who knows, you may be doing that now too. We don’t know what else is coming). But it says something that this would be your most heavily commented post.

    • I have trashed a total of probably 20 comments since launching last year. As you can see I let you say pretty much anything as long as it’s relevant.

      Trust me, I’m really ready to start a day that doesn’t start with criticism (constructive or not). But interacting with you is a big part of why I enjoy blogging. Think of all the interaction you have in an office setting. In my office, it’s just me and Mase. So I like talking to you all throughout my day.

      And selective hearing isn’t helpful for anyone so I’m taking in all of your comments.

  • Julie

    Hi Mary,

    I used to read your blog a lot, before NS and during it, but have really dropped off over the last year. It used to be something that I turned to for a quick fun read, catch-up on something NYC-ish or LA-ish and daydream. Now I feel like it’s full of serious, heavy, preachy content – and while I guess that’s what you need to do if it’s your business, it’s just no fun anymore. There’s nothing that makes me click the link to see what you’re up to because I got broken of that desire to see what was new – I got repeated posts on nutrition and exercise and how I can change myself, which isn’t why I started reading originally. I started reading to read about somebody else, not to always be trying to improve or change something.

    Also, as a writer/editor for work AND for leisure (I’m a technical writer by day, and fiction/screen writer whenever not in the office), grammar and spelling errors didn’t bother me when you were writing short quirky things about your life. They DO bother me when I read through your editorial stuff.

    I’d say that I used to read your blog, through my tumblr dash or through RSS at work, at least two or three times a day, and I’d read practically all of every article. Now, I told Safari not to keep it on my top sites page because every time I clicked on it, I didn’t really want to read any of the stuff. I didn’t feel a connection to you anymore – and even though I eat very healthily and work out daily, which you could argue make many of the posts relevant, I just didn’t really care. I miss hearing about your more normal day to day stuff, your more real thoughts. As a fiction writer, I know that it’s those things that really bring out the personality. Without it, it really is just another magazine, and I don’t have the extra space to care about it when Self and Women’s Health are already sitting on my treadmill waiting for me.