If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A to Z Reflection

I have decided to go ahead and do my reflections post


Who cares?

After a month of following rules and guidelines I’m about fed up with it.
Kind of makes a fellow want to drink a beer…or ten.

As a matter of fact what doesn’t make a fella want to drink a beer?


Whoa getting off track a beer bit.

I have successfully completed the challenge three times now.  The first two I think were my best.

This year I was an Ambassador for Arlee and I have to say it forced me to visit a lot of blogs that I otherwise wouldn’t have given a second look.  You know the ones.  I kept the ever changing challenge list saved on my favorites bar and would scroll through it regularly.    In a recent chat with fellow blogger Pearson we lightly discussed blog visits and visitors and I mentioned that I had probably visited around 400 of the challengers.

To me, that is a lot.  Of course, I lend tribute to my ambassador duties and the sadistically changing list.

Every couple of days, the list would roll up and I would have 10 or 20 new blogs to check on.

Some of those blogs were so far off course that I was getting a little perturbed that other helpers or co-host were not doing their job. 

It may not seem like a big deal, but it does take time.  Time that I could have spent finding a new blog to read.

For instance towards the end of the month I checked in on my “current numbers” which had just rolled yet again and discovered blogs that had quit posting after the letter C.  Here it was the end of the month.
Where in the heck was anybody?

All in all, I was not as happy with this challenge like I was the first two.  I guess once the virginity of it has disappeared then it loses some of its romance. 

I also noticed that I received very few comments from folks that I hadn’t already visited and left a comment first.  
Not that I’m not grateful, it just shows that maybe there wasn’t a whole lot of random blog surfing going on.  (or my blog sucks that bad)

Which I think is the fun part.  I would bring up the list and close my eyes and roll my mouse over the list.  Wherever it stopped, is who I would visit.

Enough of the crappy stuff. 

I did find several new blogs to follow and for that I am thankful.

A great blog about storytelling that holds a lot of the power of stories of old.

Ruth from Welcome to Me
I actually discovered her from another blog I had been following for years, just never clicked.
Very funny blog.

Betty from A Bench with a View
Betty is a blogger like I am.  Here for our own personal fun.  An online journal type.  Betty is in the top ten of commenters.

Her challenge about living in Guatemala was fascinating.  Almost like reading an adventure book.

Robyn from Life By Chocolate
Another funny blog that keeps you coming back for more.

There were many, many more and the list could go on for another page or two.
I picked up 22 new followers.  They even left comments!
My twitter followers went through the roof with around 30 new.

My top commenters were:

I don’t believe I will accept the role of ambassador again.  I am grateful for Arlee and the team and I was glad to do my part in keeping the ball rolling, but my time is over.  I hope someone else can fulfill the role next year.

What would I change?

I think if the hosting team could develop a mid- month check-in it would be helpful.  At the end of 13 days, you would be required to validate your sign-up.  If not, you are auto-removed.  There would be a 3-day window or so.  

This is an active challenge and if you can’t keep up or don’t even attempt it then you should be dumped and quickly.

Bloggers really need to make it easy to leave comments and or follow.  I spent a lot of time filling in details just to leave a comment.  Also make sure your comment button or follow tags are easy to find.  There were a few I almost gave up on because I couldn’t find their buttons. 

After the challenge I always say, “I’m not doing this again.”  But……

Thanks to everybody for their comments and follows and congrats to all who finished.

A special thanks to my good buddy JP for being there all month to chat with about our ambassador roles.




  1. Thanks for the shout out, Jeff. I like to blog for the relationships so if I'm going to follow a blog, I'm going to leave comments on it and get to know the person.

    I do like your reflection post. I was a minion and enjoyed it but I only had a few blogs to check out daily. I did find some of them a bit tedious to read and comment on but did try to leave a meaningful comment. I hat the "fly by" comments like one I got that said "interesting read, come and check me out". You wonder if they read what you wrote.

    The list must be daunting to keep up, but I agree with participants having to re-up so to speak somewhere in the middle of the challenge to confirm they are still doing the challenge and committed to it until the end.

    This was my 3rd challenge too. I enjoyed it but didn't get to visit as many blogs as I wanted because of work commitments, but you are right, I commented on a lot more than visited me back, probably 20% visited back. And it was hard to leave comments on a lot too, I gave up after a bit if I couldn't do it quickly; one doesn't have time to figure it out if one wants to visit blogs.

    I don't really keep track of numbers of followers because again I'm blogging for relationship. I had several people that followed my blog but never left a comment the whole month of April.

    Glad you did the challenge this year and completed it :) Every year I say the same thing "never again" and then usually sign up :)


  2. I totally agree with this statement: Bloggers really need to make it easy to leave comments and or follow.

    I also often give up on blogs that I may otherwise really want to take part in, simply because I cannot figure out how to friend them or their commenting system requires signing into another account besides blogger or the whole captcha thing....

    Of course, I am a designer who spends a lot of time focused on usability and making sure an interface does not waste a user's time because then they move on, so maybe I notice these things more than others.... but sometimes I am genuinely disappointed that I cannot friend or comment on a blog that I really like.

  3. Thanks, Jeff. I appreciate that. It's really hard keeping up with all the blogs there are. I tried doing that much one year and I wasn't a helper and it was tough. The re-up isn't a bad idea. I know one blog that I didn't see get past A and I think every year I have run into at least one that has quit several letters back.

  4. I enjoyed your posts and tried to get here every single day.
    Since I am the Linky List Master, I did wonder the same thing as you. You guys did great for Lee though - he posted a ton of links to remove.
    Thanks for letting us know. We want to keep improving from year to year.

  5. It was always a pleasure dropping by your place and I'll continue to do so throughout the year.
    Now, you mentioned something about ten beers...

  6. You had a good suggestion about a mid-way check. I was frustrated also by those who signed up and didn’t follow through. Especially those who gave up right away.

  7. Cheers to making new friends! Robyn in one of our personal best blogger friends ever. Such a sweetheart. And yes, we know THOSE kinds of blogs. Sorry mommy blogs, but all the beers in the world can't make us drum up the desire to read and comment.

  8. This was my fourth a-z, and first time in three years not being a minion (yes, I belonged to Tina)...I felt much like you at the end of last year with the visiting people who weren't participating long into the challenge but were still on the list. (I was probably chicken to include that in my reflection post last year) I wandered over from the Pearson Report today! :)

  9. All I can say is thanks for writing my post for me! LOL I linked back to this post over on my Reflections Post, no point in trying to rewrite what is so succinctly spelled out here.
    I'm glad we had a go at being Ambassadors - I share all your frustrations with the task.

    Like you, I found some awesome new blogs, the true highlight! I really enjoyed your posts, and the way you worked your theme. As an anti-themest I chose to wing it again, though I did use a mock up theme as inspiration.

    Problem this year was I was burning a few too many candles and burned myself out in the process. I can see where having everything finished works best when doing the job of Ambassador or Co-Host. I was a little ticked at the endless changing of the numbers I had to check. But, I guess that can't be helped with all the weeding out. I like your suggestion of doing a halfway check. That might make things work smoother.

    Alrighty… off I go - I'm awaiting a special email and phone call… keep your fingers crossed.

  10. Jeff, Thanks so much for the shout-out about my posts on Guatemala. I did a similar reflection last week. I know each year the hosts work to improve the Challenge. It must be a daunting task with so many signing up. I didn't visit other blogs to the extent I have in past years and so don't think I benefited as much as I could have. This will be my last year, however, as I mention on my reflections post. I'll stick to the Insecure Writer's group as it's only once a month!

  11. I agree that folks should've been dumped more quickly. If they don't post on day three, or two, they're out. Too many people are using the challenge to try to get followers, without putting in any effort. I only gained a handful of followers. I started following blogs that I found interesting, but they didn't return the follows. What happened to the generous give-and-take spirit that was at the heart of blogland and the Challenge. I think some of it was lost with time, and with growing numbers.

    So glad our paths crossed, though, Bushman. It's very cool to know that you once lived/worked in Forest Ranch. And that you're not far from whence the world's longest sundae was created. (I still can't envision that).

    Thanks so much for including me among great bloggers. Ruth cracks me up too. And I met Karen through the Challenge, so there were some great perks to it.

  12. I don't know how you did it Jeff. That's a lot of work but I'm not surprised you gave it your all. If you don't do it again, I don't blame you. If you do...I don't blame you! I apologize for not reading as much of your blog as I wanted to of late. Just been busy with traveling to NJ and I've really made an effort to get back to reading books again so the time spent on blogs is less. Can't wait for your book to be one of them!! XX


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