3 Things I Learned From Blogging Everyday for 1 Week

I took the last week off to take some time to review how I will be using this blog going forward.  I have taken a look at the stats to see what has been working and what hasn’t been working.

I set out to have a blog where there would be regular updates.  That first week of consistently updating taught me a lot of things that I will be using for this blog going forward.

First: Readers enjoy certain kinds of content over others

That first week the two most popular categories of posts were about Japan, whether it was language or moving there, and the other was photo focused posts.  I do think both of these things speak to what we want as people when we visit other’s blogs.  We want to read about adventure, and see pictures of adventure.  Its like watching tv shows about fabulous homes.  We like to consider the alternatives to what we are currently living.  Whether those alternatives are better or worse, will of course depend on what you as a person value.

Next: Photo posts get better reactions than long wordy essay posts

I know this post specifically ignores this.  But I do think a lot of our experience is visually driven.  That is why science shows with eccentric hosts do a lot better than sitting in a classroom reading about things from a teacher who needs to prepare 4 other lessons for the day.  I do think there is going to be a huge demand for things like SciShow, Crash Course, Vsauce, and the like on Youtube.  These shows do well because they respect the human attention span.  Photos and (short) videos respect that people don’t want to commit half an hour to an hour for you to explain something.

Third: You have only a moment to capture someone’s attention, then its gone.

I mainly announced blog posts through Twitter and Facebook right now. It is where my friends are, and where I can find people I already have some kind of rapport with. It is a lot harder to find strangers to share ideas and start conversation with. What I learned that first week is that you need to speak to what sits close to home for people, and quick.

I know I don’t like when someone takes a long time to get to the point.  I want to know what I need to know as soon as I can, without all the extra noise that comes with the package.

So here are the challenges I want to tackle as a blogger:

1. Be informative, and provide something valuable.

2. Try and provide that value with the least amount of noise as possible.

3. Leave the more wordy stuff to ebooks and mediums that people come to expecting to spend more time developing ideas and information.

Of course this plan will see some changes as this site develops and finds its niche subject. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts about challenges you face with sharing your ideas and thoughts with others, and how to do it in a way that they can follow, and not be bored, feel free to leave them in the comments below, or tweet me @ctriff on Twitter.

P.S. Feel free to subscribe to my blog.  If you are a wordpress member just click the +follow link up top.  If you wish to get updates via email to this blog, there is a link on the side navigation for you to do that as well.  Feel free to let me know in the comments if you use RSS feeds and I can look into getting that setup as well.

Thanks again for reading this post, and talk to you soon.

-Chris

What I Discovered about Japanese Speaking: Part 3

You have faithfully consulted your dictionary.  You wrote a list, made some flashcards, practiced them on the bus.  You now are ready to use that amazing word you found in your dictionary search.  The moment comes, and you drop the word like a proud champion.  One of three things happens:

Your listener stops and looks at you funny

What happened?  Just like English there are many words that we have, that can be used in situations, but your average speaker will not use them. If you are going to use a dictionary try and look for one that indicates whether a word is a common word or not.  If yours doesn’t indicate this, you have know way of knowing if the word you use is one of those rare literary words.  Another resource you could use is Google.  Google it and see what sites use the words, and under which contexts.

Another thing that could happen when you use the word is:

Your listener begins to laugh

Often words may mean what you intend to say, but only very figuratively.  Much like English sometimes words aren’t used simply because they sound funny, or are innuendos that sound funny to native speakers.  Once again consult Google to see how the word is used and under what context.

The last thing that could happen:

Your listener understands you and the conversation continues

You were lucky enough to find a word and use it in the right context.  What you should be doing in this situation is jotting a note somewhere about the word you used, under which context, and that it worked out fine.  Keep using the word and see if you have continued success with it.

The tool you can use to make notes about the words you know or don’t know is really simple: A small coil notepad.  Having one of these around will leave you well-equipped to make notes on things you observe about the language you are learning, when you are learning them.  You will be learning so many things, that you may not be able to recall all the juicy points later.  Having you quick notes to refer to will save you a world of hassle.  My last tip, make this note brief enough so that you can continue your conversation, but detailed enough so that you know what it means later.

Have any of you had situations like described above when you were learning Japanese, or any language for that matter.  Let me know in the comments below, tweet me @ctriff, or message me on google+.