Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Men('s blogs) are from Mars, Women('s blogs) are from Venus

I frequently ask my spouse whether he has read my post for a given day and, if so, what he thought of it. I also whine to him not infrequently about how other blogs get so many comments, but mine gets so few.

I have said before that a large part of what I enjoy about reading and writing blogs is the opportunity to interact, albeit in a highly structured manner, with people on topics of interest. When I don't get comments on my blog, it feels akin to saying something at a cocktail party and having everyone stare silently at you for 3-4 seconds before someone else jumps in with a graceful recovery line.

So the other night, completely unsolicited, my spouse offered that I could improve my blog by offering more "consistent" and focused content. He said he'd noticed that I sometimes wander far from my birth/pregnancy theme. Moreover, a fair bit of my posts lack a real punch and are more just narrations.

At first I felt defensive. After all, this blog is a very personal project. I don't take to having it criticized.

But as we talked about it, I realized that many of my favorite blogs suffer both the faults my spouse had identified in mine. Some have no theme at all, but are so well written they're worth the daily visit. Others have a loose theme, but include a lot of ancillary and/or personal information. Some posts are strictly rambling, each paragraph a new thought or news item.

What I like about them is getting to know the writer behind the posts. This is as important, if not more important, than the actual content of the blog. And like people you meet face to face, there are those blog people whom you want to know better, whom you keep hanging out with.

I like it that Barb is a midwife. I love reading about her relationship with Sarah, her gastric bypass surgery, her daughter in a bad relationship. Dr. Andy has interesting things to say about medicine but what about his interest in ultrarunning?

I shared these things with my spouse and we stared at each other for a few seconds. You could practically hear the gears turning. Finally I asked, "What do YOU get out of the blogs you read?"

"Analysis, insight, critique," he replied.

Ah! The lightbulb went on. We read blogs for different reasons. Well!

I tried to find something on-line about whether there are types of content or posts that men prefer more than women. I couldn't find anything. So you heard it here first: women blog and read blogs to increase their communal sphere; men read and write blogs to traffic in information for power purposes.

A generalization, yes. But one with some truth behind it, I believe.

Enough about that. I'm on vacation from work this week and enjoying some time home with my kids. Tomorrow I'll be visiting the couple whose baby is 10 days old. I need a haircut. What else? I guess that's enough for now. I'll head back to my planet. And Spouse, who's watching The National (Canada legislates same sex marriage!), can return to his.

12 Comments:

Blogger T$ said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:19 AM  
Blogger T$ said...

Doulicia,

How true, how true...but I must tell you, I read your blog every day and often just nod my head in agreement with you. Your comment box does not reflect your audience. We are here! And I like that you sometimes stray from your normal pregnancy/doula related topics. It just shows that you are a deeply interesting and multifaceted person. Of course, as you know, I am a girl and I like that sort of thing...T$

7:23 AM  
Anonymous Spouse said...

Is it possible that men (at least occasionally) traffic in "analysis, insight, critique" not for power purposes, but because that is the kind of language with which they (OK, I) am most comfortable interacting with the world? It seems possible to me that men have a language and vocabulary that is poorly developed in the realm of the "touchy-feely", for lack of a better term, and better developed, thanks to socialization, in the realm of critique, analysis (posturing?), etc. This could have less to do with men being power-hungry pigs (which, for the most part, they are) and more to do with the tools they've been equipped with. It's the old "if your only tool is a hammer, all your problems are nails" phenomenon.

9:56 AM  
Blogger DoulaBecky said...

I read your blog everyday also , I usually agree with what your saying and dont have anything to add.. not very good at the comment part, but you are getting read .. by alot of people , I know several doulas just from around here that read you!!! so keep bloggin...

10:11 AM  
Blogger Dynamic Doula said...

I agree with "Spouse" and have definitely strived to give my sons screwdrivers, fasteners and sledgehammers! LOL I want them to be emotionally articulate and so far they are!

Put me with your daily readers... and I share your feelings on the comments, it's so weird to know that people are reading me pouring myself out and no one is saying anything... did I say too much?! lol!

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Stella Debiaggi said...

You are so right! When I mentionned the fact that I would like to start blogging to my husband, his first reply was :"Who is going to read it?!!" I guess we have a different idea of what makes blogs intersting!!
And I check yours out everyday!!

1:09 PM  
Blogger doulicia said...

Interesting. I first want to clarify that I used the paradigm of men's pursuing information for power purposes as a nod to Deborah Tannen. Her whole thing is that women interact to reinforce egalitarian relationships and men interact to maintain a hierarchy.

As Spouse points out, there are other reasons male interactions differ from female ones. I agree.

For those of you who let me know you're out there, thank you. Though now I'm feeling like the girl who says "I'm ugly" so everyone will say "no you're not." I wasn't posting this so folks would say the read it.

On the other hand, it's nice to know you're there. Feel free to speak up more often, even if it's just to say hi.

9:01 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

I disagree that your blog isn't focused and consistent, and I don't think that being more so would invite more comments, because I think the "problem" is somewhere else. It's that you are essentially presenting news items and people tend to just soak those in. News isn't about dialogue. If you want to get people talking, I'd suggest offering more opinion, which is a natural springboard for discussion, or encourage discussion by asking questions of your readers.

And I know you didn't ask for this reassurance, but I'm one of your regular readers too. ;) I just don't comment unless I have something constructive or interesting to add. Usually I read your posts and think to myself, "huh, that's interesting," or, "oh good point," and then go on my merry way. (I have to admit one of my pet peeves is when I see a post with 75 comments consisting of "oh yeah, totally," and "you go girl" and the like. Who wants to wade through all that?)

10:16 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Doule, I'm here every day, too, even though I don't always comment. I agree completely with what Linda said. Sometimes there's not a whole lot to say about a news item, except "ugh" or "yeah!"

Two observations about my own blog: first, I believe only two men have ever left comments, not counting spam or my hubby. And second, I get way more comments when I write about my life than when I write about books, although I prefer writing about books.

Hmmm.

6:44 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Hey, why don't you add one of those free hit counters to your blog. Then you'd have a better idea of how many lurkers you have.

6:45 AM  
Blogger cheekymamaof2 said...

I also read your blog almost every day. On the days I miss out, I always catch up the next day. I can tell you why I rarely post. Sheer insecurity on my part, see I don't "know" you and you don't "know" me, and I wonder..."will my comments make this person say...'who the heck is this random chick reading my blog.'" Wow, after typing that out it looks really silly. I'll just have to start making it a point to comment. I really love reading about your life.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Navelgazing Midwife said...

Now that I know you are here, I'll read you, too!

Thanks so much for referring to my blog in your post. I shall reciprocate!

Do keep writing... and it doesn't have to all be birth. We who do birth work are not ALL birth. Usually. *smile*

6:35 AM  

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