|© copyright 2016 Mark Kelly.|
To begin with, I love the A-Z Challenge. I have missed one, and failed in another, but taken part in, and completed years '12, '15 and this year. On the positive, I feel it brings out the best in me in thought, word and creativity, and I have found this year's A-Z to have been the easiest yet in terms of energy and productivity, plus there was no post-challenge 'slump' I recall experiencing after my very first A-Z.
Then there are the wonderful bloggers and blogs you get to meet and visit. BIG bonus there. A veritable smorgasbord of topics, images, art and creativity on offer. More than you can shake a stick at, which makes me very happy.
On the downside there is the quietness of the comments section. For me, this year has been the quietest. And if I am honest, as a blogger, it is nice to have visitors come and read/view your hard worked post and leave a comment and sometimes even add your blog to their list of followed blogs.
It makes me question the time and effort put in during the A-Z Challenge: Is it worth it?
My answer: Of course it is - 100%. But my thoughts go to the new bloggers who enter for the very first time, full of excitement, anticipation and enthusiasm. When they don't get the comments, viewings and follows, what will they feel?
I want the blogging community to thrive, and to thrive I want the new comers to feel part of it and experience the warmth and friendliness of the blogverses inhabitants. My early days on blogging were all wide-eyed and excited. I remember the thrill of getting TEN followers, then a HUNDRED!
I made efforts to promote other bloggers and new bloggers on something I called my 'Blog Spot' - this I've not done for a long while, as it saddens me to see the number of blogs I 'spotted' as now being dead, and as I view their comments I see zero, after zero, after zero. I feel for them, as you can see the effort they put in only to have it lie ignored and unacknowledged. And yes, I know some folks have comments disabled.
And if truth be told, we, as bloggers, all want people to acknowledge us, otherwise we wouldn't be blogging to begin with.
So, back to th A-Z Challenge: I, personally, would like to see a section primarily set up for FIRST TIME A-Z Challengers. This way fellow bloggers can navigate to them and give them the warm welcome and encouragement they deserve.
*NOTE TO JEREMY* - each A-Z Challenge should have a special '1st A-Z Participant' badge. And possibly have specific colours for each year?
I'm going to kick-start my 'Blog Spot' once again, and start highlighting blogs that I feel need more 'daylight' and viewing traffic. I just feel new comers to the blog scene need more support and need to find others of a like-minded ilk.
Conclusion: the A-Z Challenge is a great thing and the folks who run it each year are amazing people.
But I do feel there are tweaks required. Jeremy did kindly invite me to co-host this year, but knowing my stupid time schedule with work, I had to, regrettably decline, but by way of helping, did design the alphabet for the A-Z goodies (though I still feel I let Jeremy down with it - I feel it could have been so much better - but I've offered to do some more design for next year, with more input from the A-Z team, hopefully).
The A-Z listings need to be grouped in categories thus enabling folks to navigate far quicker to those blogs of a similar interest - possibly colour code them in the listings and with colour coded A-Z badges?
But this year I did some writing and got more done than I thought possible, time constraints considered, so it was a positive result overall. A big well done to everyone taking part this year - finishing or not.