In this month's Blogspot Banter, we feature Chris H.'s "Seren-dipitous," a blogspot blog that is approaching its five year anniversary, and — it should be noted — has over 2,000 followers. Yes. 2,000 followers. That just seems like so much, doesn't it?
Based in northern New England, the blog features her photos from the often beautiful landscape those northeastern parts of the United States have been known to offer. Though she is an adjunct professor, and, as you will find below, she considers her blog something she likes to "play" with, "Serendipitous" has clearly amassed quite the following in the often fickle blog-filled universe. It was linked on blogspot's homepage, and the constant flow of comments and commenters that appear on her blog is something tiny little blogs like us can only dream of.
She was kind enough to take some time out of her obviously busy schedule to answer a few questions about blogging, photography and, of course, the complicated world of the Inter Webs. Oh, and to say serendipity wasn't in play when we found out what her favorite movie was, well, you'll see. So without anymore blah, blah, blah-ing from us, take some time to get acquainted with "Serendipitous" (which you can visit here, by the way), and spend a few minutes on getting to know the individual behind the blog. Enjoy...
Q: You’ve had your blog since 2006. That’s almost five years you have been running now. What gave you the idea to begin a blog based around pictures you have taken that predominantly feature items from nature (flowers, trees, insects, etc.)? Did you come across any bit of inspiration for this particular blog?
A: A few summers back, I finally broke down and bought the DSL camera I'd been lusting over for too long. I shot a summers-worth of pictures, but then when fall (and school) came, I just stopped. I started blogging later that fall to make myself take the time to shoot at least one thoughtful photograph a day. I love the outdoors, love to take note of small, seemingly insignificant things so that's what I photograph. But serendipitous is not just about nature — it's about the daily things that impress me — for whatever reason.
Q: Your blog has over 2,000 followers, and your profile says it has been viewed over 6,000 times. Those are pretty good numbers. What advice would you give to a blogger starting out in regards to how to gain readership? Were there any struggles you had to begin with, and how did you overcome them?
A: I didn't start out looking for an audience. I started blogging for myself. I'd done webpages before but blogging was an easier way to get information online. In the beginning I knew family and a few friends read serendipitous (from my email signature file and stat counter!) but, even now, with so many readers, a lot of what I write is still just for me. I see it, I think it, wonder about it, sometimes even feel it, then take the photograph, write about it, and post. The fact that anyone but me finds any interest in it is astounding to me, even now.
Q: It also states in your profile that you an adjunct university professor and ICT specialist. How do you find time to blog around your professional career? Would you like to make a career around your blog and/or blogging?
A: I love my jobs, but they're pretty intense and I work long hours. Blogging has become a bit like playing — I search for a picture all day and snap it when I see it. I mull over the posting as I go about my day, writing down words and phrases and emailing them to myself or sticking them on a Post-it in my pocket. By the time I get home, the skeletal post is pretty much ready to post to Blogger. I sit and tweak it, then re-tweak in the morning with coffee. It's great fun - but no, I'd never make it a career. Wouldn't want to take the chance that it might not be fun anymore!
Q: How important is the comments section/re-adership numbers to you? Is this blog up and running for fun, and your own personal enjoyment, or is this something that you only find gratification in when you know other people are reading? That said, have you become discouraged and have you ever considered giving up your blog because you thought no one cared/read? If so, how did you overcome those feelings?
A: I do love to get comments and so appreciate them. I would love to be able to repsond to all of them, although I'm not even sure that's expected, and I feel a bit guilty that I don't. But even when I didn't get any comments I still loved to blog. No, never considered giving up - not on this blog, anyway! ;-)
Q: How did you come about the name “Serendipitous?” Is there a more personal meaning, or was it designed to draw readers in? How important do you think a name can be when beginning one’s own blog?
A: If the name of the blog is the first thing a reader sees - in someone's blogroll, in a web page or email link - it should be intriguing enough that the reader would want to click and find out more. "Serendipitous" was the name of a dear friend's get-away retreat in northern Maine, a beautiful spot on the coast that she just happened upon and subsequently bought. I always liked the word and the concept behind it. That's how most of my photos and ramblings are - not planned, I just find or notice or wonder about them as life goes on.
Q: What’s your favorite movie?
A: The Usual Suspects. Yeah, really.
Q: Favorite food?
A: V8 Juice
Q: Favorite television show?
A: LOST - Now that it's over, I may go into LOST withdrawal and not watch TV ever.
Q: When you are not working or blogging, what do you enjoy doing the most?
A: I'm a huge fan of sleep, I really like to read and study and learn new things - and I love hanging out with my grandgirl.
Q: What’s your favorite blog?
A: A vlog, actually - The Vlogbrothers, by Hank & John Green. It's funny, clever, unpredictable, and it always makes me laugh and often makes me think.
For more, check out http://chune123.blogspot.com/.