Tuesday, September 04, 2007

31 Days: Day 25 (Go Shopping)

Day 25: Go Shopping

For day 25 of the Blogging Challenge, the task at hand was to go shopping. Go to a mall and spend 30 minutes observing shopping patterns, merchandising schemes, etc.

My life in no way supports random trips to the shopping mall, so instead I'll look at my current shopping habits and needs: I need to get in and out of the store as quickly as I can, getting exactly what I need. Often I have two small kids in tow or I'm trying to check ten things off a list during my lunch hour.

I like to go to stores where I know the layout. I've got my system down and can't tolerate spending a precious ten minutes searching for the bread aisle or trying to find the peanut butter.

If you think about blogs and websites in general, we come to expect similar layouts and experiences from blog to blog. I look for a subscription button somewhere in the sidebar. A link to learn more about the blog's author. I like to know how long this blog has been around. The rest is either gravy or distraction. Too much clutter means I spend more time searching for the basics.

I almost always go to the grocery store that's nearest to my house. It's a bit more expensive than the store in the next town, but it's smaller and easier to get through. The aisles are shorter and there are fewer products on the shelves. They have just what I need. Or at least, just what I expect.

As I think about my own blog-reading habits, I see the same patterns. I rely on my feed reader to get me the information I need and want. Lately, I haven't had the time to go on random blog browsing sessions.

Right now I need a smaller blog store. I think I need to trim down what's in my feed reader. A good aggregator (like Stephen Downes) will get me the info I need so I'm not missing the really juicy stuff.

As I avoid the bigger stores these days, I've also noticed myself avoiding the longer posts in my feed reader. When posts are really long, I start skimming. I may even just skip it completely, thinking I'll come back to it later when my brain is less full. Yeah right. I'm sure many of you are the same.

Keeping blog posts short will ensure they get read more. A challenge to all writers. And a big challenge to me, who can ramble on like no other....

Another big shopping challenge is navigating the checkout aisle. All those candy bars in reach of the hands of little children who are riding in the shopping cart that's shaped like a car because you're trying to keep them entertained while you get the groceries. (You've seen harried young mothers attempting this feat, right?) I'm sure this relates to blogging -- the enticing thrill of a delicious looking link that can send you off in a myriad of directions....

Darren did a great summary of his lessons learned while shopping as did Michele Martin.

Do you have any great shopping tips that can be applied to blogging? Are you a browser? A shop-aholic? Or a speed shopper? Do you notice similar patterns in your blogging?

Photocredit: Shopping Cart by sanja gjenero courtesy of stock.xchng


Christine Martell said...

I want to be more like you! I think I am in my mind, efficient and ordered. But in my actions? I'm off looking at the new interesting thing in a heartbeat. Probably why I avoid shopping, just don't have the time.

And yes, I am the same online...thank you very much for pointing THAT out. I'm sure someday I will develop laser sharp focus.....

Anonymous said...

I've been finding myself skipping to the next post when something really long comes up in my reader, too. I think my own posts have been too long lately, and I think I need to cut down a bit.

Your post reminded me to check out AideRSS again. I'm wondering if that could help me filter out some things and keep it more manageable. Tony Karrer said he hasn't found a way to import a large list of feeds into it yet though, and that's really what I need. Have you tried it yet?

Cammy Bean said...

@ Christine....ahh, yes. Laser sharp focus. That will come in time, grasshopper...or perhaps not. My ability to focus or not is simply a matter of my bigger life picture. It's too busy. I'm too distracted. I've got to be efficient...or else.

We are creatures of habit -- online, in the supermarket...I think I used to have more intellectual discipline.

@ Christy...I've been experimenting a bit with AideRSS. My experiment consists of my own feed. Based on the amount of comments in a post and some other arbitrary factors, AideRSS "rates" each post...So you can just subscribe to the more highly rated posts. This seems circular to me. People won't see a post and know to comment on it, because it's not highly rated....I'm not sold on it.

alex said...

Hi Cammy,
The comments below come from my blog post about this task - http://www.flairandsquare.com/howto/31-day-challenge/

While I'm shopping, I like to find a space to take stock, make a phone call, write something down or simply, to breathe. The same applies when I'm reading a blog, so white space is good!

I am very tactile, I like to touch, smell and feel product, so any pictures of things that smell, look or tatse good attract me!

I'm also very attracted to branding. I click on bloggers other online spaces and I really like to see the brand carried through.

http://jokay.com.au/ is a good example of this. She has carried the theme through to her twitter page as well and you know when you're in her space!

I have been known to chuck items into my shopping trolley just because the branding/ label is strong and well designed.