If We Were Having Coffee: Blog Chat

I'll do what I want

Image via Jwalsh on Flickr


If we were having coffee, we’d talk about blogging. After months, I’ve finally figured out how to use Bloglovin’, and I’ve found a blog reader I liked for non-Wordpress.com blogs.

BloglovinBloglovin’ is an aggregator. It organizes RSS feeds (mostly blogs) so that users can easily discover, read, and follow content creators (again, mostly blogs). After the untimely demise of my beloved Google Reader (rip), I’ve been lost as far as RSS feeds are concerned, and I learned to live without an RSS feed because I know how to build bridges and get over them. I know there are other readers like Feedly, Feedburner, and Digg. But they didn’t do what I wanted or needed. I no longer wanted a traditional reader for my favorite sites and news outlets. I just wanted a universal reader to read blogs outside of my WordPress blogging bubble. Something similar to my WP reader, but a reader that would include my favorite blogs from around the interwebs.

As a blogger and social media darling, having a way to follow non-Wordpress.com blogs was challenging. I wanted an RSS reader but not really. Getting notifications in my email inbox was not an option. Updates in my email was and is a non-negotiable; I won’t have it. The last thing I need is more emails I won’t open or read. I’m not subscribing to anybody’s blogs or newsletters via email. I just can’t.

Sometimes you just can't

Seriously, I can’t with my email.

So, when I learned about Bloglovin’ I thought it was a pretty cool idea. I like that there is a social aspect to it, and I can follow my favorite bloggers. Instead of me having to bookmark their sites; I have easy access to my favorite bloggers’ posts all in one place. Plus, the blogger knows I’m following his/her blog this way; you can’t get that via a normal RSS feed. I have no shame in saying, I want my credit. I want bloggers to know I like and follow their blogs.

I really like being able to peruse my favorite non-WP.com blogs in my Bloglovin’ feed. I’ve tried to figure out the social aspects of Bloglovn’, but I can’t.  So I’ve stopped trying. I’m just going to use it as a blog reader because I kind of can’t figure it all out.

Bloglovin' is awkward sometimes

Sometimes my pictures show up. Sometimes they don’t. I’ve stopped trying to figure out why.

So, now I use my WordPress and Bloglovin’ readers to visit the blogs I follow. I wonder if other platforms like Blogger and Weebly have a reader for their users like WP. Do you know anything about that? I’m sure you’d tell me if we were having coffee.


If we were having coffee, I’d whine about having niche woes. I’m an educator who blogs about her adventures in teaching and learning. I blog about whatever I want concerning education, things I learn about, things that interest me, reading, travel, social media, television, science, history, technology, humor, experiences… Basically, if it has caused me to think, I will blog about it. The only rule I have is that I won’t rant about my profession or get overly political.

But sometimes I feel like I don’t fit in as a blogger. My posts about curriculum and instruction get consistent views but little to no engagement. That doesn’t bother me because little engagement seems to be typical of a lot of ed blogs unless the topic is political or derisive in nature. My chatty posts, posts about blogging, haiku, and posts about things I’ve learned get a lot of engagement but do not have longevity like my ed posts.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ve thought about strictly posting about education. It seems like the more professional thing to do. Besides, I love those posts. They are responsible for most of my views. But…

I like the engagement. It’s my favorite part of blogging really. Nothing I blog about is inappropriate, and fits my vision for blogging. But sometimes I feel like maybe I should be more niche focused. Or maybe I should just not worry about that and do what I want.

I'll do what I want

If we were having coffee, how you you explain the vision for your blog? Do you even bother with a niche? How do you keep up with the blogs you follow? Do you hate email subscriptions like me?



If We Were Having Coffee is a weekly blog share and link up hosted by Part-Time Monster. Write your own coffee post and join in the fun! *After reading Part-Time Monster’s post, you will find the link up at the end.








Twitter Follow Me @KRenaeP


Coffee image via Jwalsh on Flickr

27 thoughts on “If We Were Having Coffee: Blog Chat

  1. I’m with you. I love Bloglovin’ because it keeps my mailbox clean and simple. I can’t subscribe to another newsletter because…I just can’t. No matter how much I love a blogger or their content, Bloglovin’ is just easy. Regarding finding your niche or using your niche effectively. Engagement is key and when you can’t write about your feelings, it can be restrictive. I am a substitute teacher and I find that I have many opinions about the state of education in our schools, but I know if I shared publicly, I might be out of a job. So, there’s that. I’ll stick to travel writing because I am always traveling (local or otherwise), and I can always find a way to teach our kids from our experiences. Keep doing what you’re doing. As long as you love it, and you’re passionate, they will come!

  2. Thank you for writing about Bloglovin’. I too have been lost since the demise of Google Reader. I really like my WP Reader although I have found that I can’t comment on private blogs using the Reader. I have to go to the actual blog url to do that. I will check out BlogLovin’. It sounds like what I’ve been looking for. I’ve also started to send blogs straight to my Kindle for reading through the Mozilla Firefox plugin Send To Kindle. It’s much easier for me to read on my ereader because there is no eyestrain while reading that. On my laptop, it’s horrible. I can only read for about 45 minutes then I have to take a break or I end up not being able to focus for hours. I guess we each have to find what works for us.

    I started blogging about 15 years ago. At first, it was just for my poetry and my memoir writing. Then, about 7 or 8 years ago, I began posting a hodge podge of subjects. Rarely political. I tend to post a lot about my family and about daily life, which right now includes living alone and aging and grandchildren. I still write a lot of memoir pieces that are scattered about.

    I’ll look at bloglovin’ and see how it fits.

    • I had no clue there was a Kindle app like that. I l like that as an option. I bet it will work for the app if you don’t have a Kindle. I have a Samsung tablet. You may enjoy reading on your Kindle more. The Bloglovin’ reader isn’t the best, but I can find most of my favorite nonWP blogs there. It makes things for me.

      You’ve been blogging 15 years? Wow. I love that you’ve evolved as a blogger.

  3. I don’t tend to follow blogs unless I can get a reminder in my email. The result, I suspect of working for myself and working from home. 🙂 … you come up with the most interesting stuff, that I would never have been exposed to otherwise … the beauty of following blogs outside one’s own little rainbow sphere of comfort zone.

    • I’m glad that I asked how people follow blogs. I’ve been surprised by the different ways people organize the blogs they read. I can’t keep up with my blogs in my inbox. My email is never organized enough.

      “Rainbow sphere of comfort zone”- you should trademark that.

      I appreciate the compliment. 🙂

      • I sit down with my morning cuppa tea and colour-code my emails then I work my way through ’em in bunches, inbetween other stuff throughout the day. Like any system I guess, easy once it’s up and running.

        RSOCZ for short! 😀

  4. What the hell, wordpress? Sorry about the clipped weirdo comment up above here. Not intentional. I think my WP is exhausted from the SOL influx this month. Anyways, “your no” translates to Your niche is a misfit! And that’s perhaps why you are one of my favorite bloggers. Let’s break it down:
    -as a reader, I prefer the blog platform to be instantly engaging. I want to connect and hear whom I reading. Straight up you had that going for you from the first month. I think I accidentally stumbled onto you when I was investigating that Blogging U and abandoned it from a too many spammers and sometimes creeps on my own blog. Mine is filled with mostly personal essays that revolve around my view of my own unorthodox parenting style so creeps are not my goal audience. I read 90% of your posts and often feel like I know you. Like you and I are old college buds or something and you’re talking to me. I appreciate that greatly.
    -next up, as an educator, your blogs are off the hook resourceful and thoughtful in their explanations. They call out to the readers in plain English while dangling the expertise in subject matter along the way. That’s huge in this society of info overload. I want to zero in on folks I trust when I need advice or want to learn something more. I think I’ve commented on more than one occasion that you SHOULD write a book on your entertaining nonfiction topics. They are amazing. Just saying.
    -lastly, you know the old saying about everyone having an opinion (wink), well I’d rather not get the other end of the deal on my comment feed personally. I get tons of views and very, very little comments but when I think of what those comments might say, eh. They can keep them if they aren’t going to add to it. I get more in-person and emailed comments that I’ve ever had on the blog and I like that. For instance, I looked to email you last week to ask if you minded me adding you to my links on my blog for the simple reason that I go to your site often. I don’t want to use the readers all the time and I’m still a newbie to bloglovin so I added it for me. I’m selfish like that. I want to go back to your ethical use of visuals in blog format from time to time because it’s right flippin on and again, a phenomenal resource. So that’s my take on some of what you have thought provoked above. Hope it’s all welcome opinion and not the other end of that cliche (wink, again).

    Didn’t forget to leave out that you are funny? You. Are. Hilarious. I think good, all-around funny is the politically appeasing form of uber intelligence. Just sayin.

    • WordPress has been wearing a dunce cap of late. I wonder if they are in the middle of changes/upgrades of some sort.

      You made my day. I appreciate comments and compliments from a fellow misfit. Thank you soooo much. I really do like writing nonfiction. One thing I like about Standards Who Must Not Be Named is that nonfiction is elevated in literacy focus. I also have the position that all teachers are literacy teachers- K-college. When I figured out that a lot of my struggling readers enjoyed nonfiction more than the stories, I included a ton more nonfiction and informational text. Many kids weren’t reading b/c we were ignoring their interest. Nonfiction & informational lit (including data and primary sources) is a soapbox of mine. I have a bunch of soapboxes, but that has been my big one for over 10 years.

      I’m glad you feel comfortable with me as a blogger. That’s what I want. Not some ‘Sage on the Stage’ blogger. Maybe that’s why some of my favorite ed bloggers are Slice of Lifers. I admit to being one who reads your blog but I don’t always comment. But your posts are often so personal that I just want to read it. You have a few posts that should be submitted to Longreads- http://longreads.com/.

  5. Like you, I am a voracious blog-reader. I recently discovered bloglovin, too, and can’t figure out exactly what’s what, but read a lot of good stuff. I admit, some of your education posts lost me, but you are such a great writer, that I always check in. You convey a real warmth, and I am often inspired. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a misfit. Maybe your niche is misfits… Keep up the good work..!

    • Yeah, I know some of my ed posts are very profession specific. Not too many people (even educators) would care about the ed researcher, Michael Fullan, doing a video series, the intricacies of STEM, or the implementation of trade books & primary sources. And that is fine with me. Well, for a second it wasn’t because I was having a blog identity crisis but I’m over that now.

      I want my readers to read all sorts of things, and I want to write all sorts of things. You never know what you may pick up. I’ve follow blogs ‘out of my wheelhouse’ and I can take something away. And sometimes it is so specific or specialized that it is all over my head.

      “My niche is misfit.” I like that. Misfits are fun, diverse, and open-minded. I do tend to favor misfit blogs- I like things are mixed up. I have to remember what I learned from Dirty Dancing, “Nobodyputs Baby in a corner”.

      And if you figure out a way to use Bloglovin’ other than just as a reader, please post about it.

  6. I also dislike going through my email, for subscriptions and reading them. Part of that, though, is because it’s a Yahoo account—slow, full of ads. I could switch it over to the G-mail account, but I’d probably still procrastinate with the subscriptions…

      • Even the WordPress reader is pretty clunky to me.  Ever since Following the Freshly Pressed on twitter, I can’t tell you the last time I switched the Reader to FP.

      • It is a clunky reader, but it’s all we’ve got. I never switch my Reader to FP. I only use it for the blogs I follow and the occasional tag search. The WP tag search is garbage plus some people don’t even use tags. Or they use super specific tags.

        I honestly forget about FP until one of the blogs I follow gets pressed. Then I catch up.

  7. I like reading your education posts, but often I have nothing to add, so most of the time it’ll just be a “like,” but your chattier posts make me want to engage more. As for a reader, I get email notifications of blogs in my inbox. I wouldn’t read as many blogs if I relied on the Reader because I’d simply forget to go scroll through, and it’s harder to catch up. Because of that, I don’t feel myself needing a Bloglovin. Sometimes I delete the emails before actually reading the posts, but for the most part if I’m subscribed to someone it’s because I want to see EVERYTHING they say.

    • I get why ed posts don’t get a lot of engagement. It’s just the nature of the post.

      Here is something funny. I was clicking around when I was grouchy about someone saying I had a fun lifestyle blog. I was mad on this side of the computer. Then, I read a post where you said you didn’t worry about a niche. Then the next day I read a Mommy Blogger who I liked who posted about the same thing.

      I was like- that’s right! I can post what I want. And so that was the end of my short blogging identity crisis.

  8. I started blogging two months ago by participating in the WordPress University 101 and I just kind of did my own thing from there. My blog is mostly filled with prompts and flash fiction, but sometimes I throw in some literary articles because I am enraptured by words. I don’t have an encompassing theme really–I pretty much try anything of interest that I come across and go from there. I have joined a few blog hops and those keep me focused at times 🙂 I think it’s important to have fun with your blog and not worry (too much) about stats. I would never want blogging to become a chore for anyone 🙂

    As far as an RSS reader, I’ve been using Inoreader and it works pretty well as my “follows” overtook my email inbox. If you want, check out inoreader: http://www.inoreader.com

    PS I like reading about education 🙂

What's on your mind Dear Reader?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s