My 7 Links: Blog Introspection

Kristine, over at Rescued Insanity, passed her curse on to me.

I kid, of course.  When I first read a My 7 Links post at No Dog About It, I thought it was a great idea.  It makes bloggers think about their own work, and is a great way to get highlights from blogs you haven’t always followed or had time to dig through the archives of.

For example, I’d likely never otherwise find Kristine’s post, Modern Day Dragons, about the $20 bounty Nova Scotia’s provincial government has placed on coyote pelts as a (uninformed) method of population control.  I definitely don’t remember that making the news out here when it happened in October 2010, and is just another example of uneducated, reactionary legislation; it reminds me of BSL.

My 7 Links was spearheaded by Tripbase Blog as a way to unite bloggers, resurrect old and dear posts, and share lessons learned, though 7 links, one in each category.

Since Kristine nominated me, I will forge ahead without further ado.

1.  Most Beautiful Post

The winning post here is completely unrelated to dogs.  In May I found myself at our nation’s capital and fancied myself a photo-tourist, and shared some of my favourite shots as a Wordless Wednesday edition.

When I started blogging (still less than a year ago) my posts were admittedly word-heavy. More like long articles, less like punchy blog posts, and had few pictures to dazzle the eye.  I have since been working on including more photos and fewer suffocating details.

An Ottawa photo from the Memorial Chamber I didn't share in the original post.

2.  Most Popular Post

I let WordPress determine this one for me.  Aside from my home page and based on hits, my Letter to Mayor Nenshi and Calgary’s City Council is by far my most popular post.  In it, I ask the city to enact a bylaw similar to that of Richmond, B.C.’s and several American cities, banning the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores.  It attracted the attention of both animal welfare advocates and corporate Petland.

3.  Most Controversial Post

I was going to fudge this one and pick another pet sale ban post, but I can’t do it.  Yes, that discussion is controversial, but it’s not the “most” controversial, and I can’t bring myself to lie even if it will lead to backlash.  My most controversial post is, by far, In Defence of Cesar.

At the risk of being harshly judged and losing some blogging friends, I will sum up that post like this:  I do not hate Cesar Millan and I go so far as to identify some positive consequences of his fame.  The post sparked a heated debate and a link to it travelled around online to people who had very harsh words for it – and me personally.  “Debate” might even be too favourable a term, because reason left the forum early on in the comments.

I learned (at least) two lessons from that post:

1.  One controversy at a time.  I had the Cesar talk and the pet sale debate with Petland going on at the same time and it was draining and frustrating – especially since I think responding to reader comments is important.  However, too little rational discussion and I stop replying, which ended up being the case with the Cesar topic.

2.  Too early.  I’d been blogging for less than 3 months and then I came out on one side of a very controversial topic.  It wasn’t well thought out, but I can’t bring myself to deactivate the post.  It’s a transparency thing.

4.  Most Helpful Post

I sometimes write posts to specifically be helpful or provide information.  Like trying to get your dog to pee in a particular place or information on raw diets.

But based on what people are searching for online and what brings non-subscribers to the blog, I think my most helpful post has probably already been the recent That Summer ‘Do – a post specifically dedicated to NOT shaving your dog in the summer.  Lots of people out there in cyberspace seem to be Googling information on shaving double-coated dogs, and if my post talks them out of it, I consider it undeniably helpful!  I’m sure their dogs think so, too.

5.  Most Surprisingly Successful Post

Easy:  Why, Jake Gyllenhaal, Why?

People who don’t walk their dogs or, worse, carry their dogs around is a pet peeve of mine.  And it seemed to me that in every photo I saw of hunky Mr. Gyllenhaal and his dog, the dog had nary a paw on the ground.  So I flippantly wrote about it, completely unaware of how many people out there Google variants of “Jake Gyllenhaal + dog”.   This post definitely brings in the most search engine traffic and is always in my Top 10 most viewed stats.

6.  Most Under-Appreciated Post

There are a couple that didn’t quite get the reception I thought they would, but I think most-so is In Defence of Big Dogs, written as a frustrated Newfoundland owner who likes to travel with her dog whenever possible.  Moses may be drooly, but he is very well-behaved, and it still bothers me that some dogs get more extensive travel privileges simply because they are smaller.

Though, I admit this post was written early on, and is therefore word-heavy and picture-light.  I understand (now) that blog readers often see large paragraphs and move on immediately.  But I just can’t bring myself to delete the post and start from scratch, even though I know I could do better.

7 .  Most Proud Post

Another easy one; I am most proud of my post Bloat / Gastric Torsion.  I wrote this long before the blog existed and as a way of making sense of an unexpected bloat experience we had with Moses.  Now I cope with experiences like that by blogging about it; it’s very cathartic.  At the time, I found myself frustrated with the conflicting information out there surrounding canine bloat, so I decided researching it and writing about it was the best way to make sense of it myself.

In a way, the bloat research exercise, together with the other pre-blog creation To Ban the Breed?, eventually lead to the creation of the Soapbox, as a way to share these things I had spent a lot of time on and thought would be useful and interesting to others.   Though, both of these posts I do consider under-read and under-appreciated, I acknowledge they are more like informative research articles and less like blog posts.

Moses meets a starfish during low tide in Vancouver - he bloated that evening.

Now I have completed my self-asssessment, my duty is to nominate up to 5 more bloggers for a 7 Link Assessment of their own.  And I did check the list to ensure I was passing it forward, not circling back.

The lucky nominees are (in alphabetical order):

2 Brown Dawgs – this is a purely selfish nomination, because I haven’t had time to read all the archives about Thunder and Storm as much as I’d like, and am curious to see highlights I may otherwise miss.

According to Gus – probably not a fair nomination because they’re off living the dream, travelling around North America on the ultimate road trip, but I couldn’t resist.  Lori’s such an amazing photographer, I’m dying to know what’s she’d pick for Most Beautiful Post.

Gone for a Walk – a very versatile and eclectic blogger – I’m very interested in what the 7 links would be.

My Brown Newfies – another selfish nomination of a blog I have quickly become a regular reader of.  This nomination isn’t just because the blog is about a couple of awesome Newfs… or is it?

The Daily Toki – speaking of great photographers!  Best of luck to you when you narrow down to just one in the first category.