Monday, April 12, 2010

The Bloggosphere: Clutter and Cleanliness

In case I hadn't mentioned it before, I am OCD. Not severely like Monk or anything, but I like to have things very orderly and clean, organized and easy-to-find, etc.  (and yes, symmetrical is always a bonus xD )  Blogs are no exception. I like to see a good, clean-looking blog. But this can be a frustrating point because sometimes I want to put a lot of info in sidebars and such... It's just hard to do without looking like a circus. Fortunately on these my two public blogs I don't have a whole lot of info at this time that I want posted in my sidebars so I haven't had to fight with it. Anyway I don't have time to fight with it because I'd rather focus on either posting a good blog or just writing some more in my book. However, this preference of mine does make a difference in the blogs I read, and I'm sure I'm not the only one (am I?).
If I go to a blog and it's all cluttery and hard to find what I'm looking for, I don't waste my time looking for it. Even if the article is really interesting, it just bugs my subconscious that there is all this stuff in the sidebar. Most of it, I understand why it's there, but it still messes with my mind. Unless the blogger has managed to find a way to make it look neat and orderly. Oh how much I appreciate that. And you know, I can't even really explain the difference, but I do notice it. One thing I do know that makes a difference is only having the sidebar content on one side. Of course, when one has a lot of sidebar content, this makes it hard to get to the bottom of the page... which wouldn't be such a big deal except that sometimes people put things I want to find like follower/tag lists or playlists at the bottom. Which brings me to my next point: Playlists
Let me start by saying I'm all for having a playlist of cool music on your blog. I have one on several of my blogs. It's cool because you can tell a lot about people by their playlist (BTW the one on here doesn't seem to be working properly which totally stinks). HOWEVER  my HUGE PET PEEVE with playlists is auto-playing playlists. Like, I'm a huge multitasker and I pretty much always listen to music on WMP or grooveshark while I'm working... it helps drown out background noise and such. But so many times I will open a blog and all of a sudden my ears are insulted by something that totally clashes with the music I'm listening to. And what's the absolute worst is when I don't know WHERE the bloomin' music is coming from!!!!!  ARGH  ok sorry it just bugs me LOL  one day I spent like 10 minutes trying to find the stupid playlist and turn it off b/c I didn't like the song and it was ruining the awesome song I was listening to which I couldn't pause since it was on an entirely different browser and I was too busy looking for that wretched song. (BTW it took me so long b/c I had like 20 tabs up, each with a different blog I was reading. Yes, as I said, I am a multitasker :P).
So no offense to anybody who has their blog set up like this, but I'm just sayin' it bugs me. You can just ignore me if you want and I'll keep living with it, but now you can't say you don't know, right? Right ;)
Anyway all that to say, Congrats to those of you who have been able to maximize sidebar content AND make it look good. You deserve an award and I wish you could teach me how to do it. ;)  As for me, I'm keeping my sidebar content to a minimum b/c I really am a minimalist at heart, no matter how much pack-ratting I do (we won't go there today) and I love things to be neat and orderly.
Who's with me? :D


Andrea said...

My blog play list is set up to play, but it is also at the top so that it can easily be paused. Sorry if you don't like the music I have on there.

Blessings, andrea

L. E. Neighbour said...

kudos for putting it in an easy-to-find place! Now I won't hold it against you ;) ok just kidding, I don't hold that kind of thing against anybody :P But you seriously get points for putting it in a good place ;)

Diane said...

I like minimal too, but it seems like some of that stuff is necessary. Yours looks nice! :O)

L. E. Neighbour said...

Thanks! Yeah... like I said, it's hard to get all the necessary stuff and still make it look neat ^_^

Emily Ann Benedict said...

I am a totally A-symetrical, the more the merrier type and yet I don't even like messy blogs.
I think I'm a little ADD when it comes to blogs and websites. If I can't find what I'm looking for in about 15 seconds I'm moving on!!
There are actually a lot more things I'd like to put in my sidebar, but it was just getting to be too much. :P
So, don't worry. The other side of the world agrees with you! :)

Jessica Nelson said...

Too funny! I always have my volume muted but if it's on and I get music on a blog, it always scares me at first because I forget music can play on them. LOL I like "clean" blogs too, but as long as the post is easy to read, I don't pay too much attention to sidebar content. :-)

Jill Kemerer said...

My blog had next to nothing in the sidebar when I started, but I want as much information as possible in there now. I want readers to easily become a follower of my blog, to find my website and also to find me on twitter and facebook.

Also, for any editor or agent who decides to check out my blog (the URL is listed in the header of all of my query letters), I showcase in the sidebar a list of articles and favorite posts I've written.

While uncluttered blogs do look nice and make things user friendly, I get frustrated when I want to follow a blog and there's no follow button, or when I'd like to connect with the author on FB or Twitter and there's no way of doing that.

Yours looks great, by the way! You have all the pertinent buttons.

L. E. Neighbour said...

Yeah Emily, there's so much that can be put on a sidebar! and it's so fun to be able to put what you want. It's easy to get carried away ^_^
haa ha Jessica, the first few times I had that happen, I was like whoa where is that music coming from? Pretty sure that's not my music... ^_^
Jill, yes, exactly. Sometimes there's a lot of stuff you need to post Sometimes I wish it was a little easier to control exactly how it all shows up so it'd be a little easier to keep it neat. And I agree, the main things I care for in the sidebar (and the main things I want people to find on my blog) are following/network options. Everything else can go in a pile at the bottom of the page ^_^ haa ha Of course, that might change as I get more into the writing world... we'll have to see :D

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

I've been wanting to put all the awards in a slide show type widget. Being techy challenged, it's taking a while to psych myself up to the task. This would reduce the eye clutter on my blog.

Anyone have any simple instructions on how to accomplish this?

Susan :)

P.S. I've become a Follower here.

L. E. Neighbour said...

Thanks Susan :D
Hmmm I've never looked at how to do slideshows but I think you can insert a slideshow gadget from blogger. If not you could probably post one from picasa or another photo host.

Elana Johnson said...

I'm so with you! I recently took down all my awards. I love them, I really do. I'm gracious (I think) and say thank you when I get them. But I'm not posting them on my blog anymore. They just take up so much room! They look so cluttery -- at least to me.

L. E. Neighbour said...

@ Elana, well I only have one so far so that's not a big deal here yet. But if I get any more I'm gonna have to put them in a slideshow or something... we'll see when (if) we ever get there :P

Jeanette Levellie said...

Now I'm totally wondering what kind of score my blog gets in the neatness dept. I have a lot on my sidebar, but have tried to not overwhelm the reader.

I love colors, even though I know that black on white is easiest to read.

My pet peeve on blogs is terribly loooooooong posts. I don't even bother to read them when I see a thousand words. I may skim, but who has time to read ten minutes on each blog they go to?

Thanks for your thoughts.

L. E. Neighbour said...

Jeanette, you do have quite a bit of content! But you get points for having your following gadget toward the top where it's easy to find ;) I suggest you put your "about me" a little higher up too b/c that's the second thing I like to see, especially on blogs I haven't seen before. But that's just me. I dunno if others feel the same way ;)
And I agree, long posts do tend to turn me off. However, if the subject line is intriguing and the first paragraph or so is capturing I will stick around. But I don't want to read a really really long post that sort of rambles. Bite-size blogs are much better. I sometimes have a hard time writing bite-sized blogs though since I tend to get a little wordy sometimes :halo: heh...