The blog post trail game aka the other map of blog

Rocket ship tours the blogsphere

Today I have a question or two that I would like a little feedback over. Let me explain first. You might have seen the blog “tag” where you are posed a series of questions for you to answer (obviously), but for you then to pass on to some fellow bloggers. The purpose is to learn a little about your blogging community and for them to get a small dose of you. In fact,  have an outstanding tag to post on, with some very interesting writer questions, posed by jmmcdowell. I shall apologise for being slack on that front, I will get to that soon. However a few days ago, I had another idea.

This game of tag is different. No come back, just bear with me a moment. It is less a game of tag, far more simple, and involves passing it on to less people. It works like this: Lets say it starts with a blog post, derived from a prompt of some kind. The writer, lets say I start, then chooses someone to pass it on to. The person must be willing to accept, or someone willing to accept must be found. What is passed on is a prompt or idea of some kind. It might be something simple for example, “The Trail”, or something a little more specific like for example, “A taste of chocolate”. The receiving blogger then has to do a post of some kind, using this. The thing is, they can do anything they want. It could be a poem,  some short fiction, a story from their life, a recipe, mindless ramblings on the subject, a song list, or something entirely different. There is the freedom to do whatever the writer likes, so long as it relates in someway to the passed on prompt or idea. When they are done they then pass it on to the next willing participant, with a new prompt or idea of their choosing. And so on, and so on. At the beginning of their post they must link to the previous post in the trail, and if they know at the time of posting, link to the next person’s blog home page. When they do know who it is to be passed on to, their post must be updated to include this.

Now to make it a little more interesting, lets say I keep a page (or more if necessary) dedicated to the trail. When a person posts they also send me the link to the post, perhaps they post it in the comments of the page, which I will pick up and add to the page. A reader can then use this page to get a quick look at the trail, to see where it has led and get an idea of the posts in the trail. If someone wishes to participate, but has not yet been picked, they can submit their blog name and link, for others to choose if they want to. Or perhaps a second trail could be started. It might be interesting to see all the different ideas that are passed around, but also interesting how they are dealt with.

The good thing is that, you do not have to select any more than one blog to pass it on to, and even then the person has to agree to do it. The downside is you can only pass it on to one person where you might have several in mind. I’m not entirely sure how to deal with that bit yet. However the main reason to keep the number down is that you want to be able to read the post, plus others following the trail will hopefully want to as well. They might not want seven new posts to have to read, then again with whomever they pass it on to. In this way it will quickly get out of hand and lose it’s purpose, see? Part of the fun is the prompt, part of it the post, and part of it the trail to see where it leads. The hope is the poster puts a little, or a lot, of themselves in the blog posts and the trail gives us a nice map (of sorts) of the blogging scene.

It might need an interesting name, along the lines of “The alternative map of the blog” or something along those lines. I’ll come back to that one. It also might need a little picture along similar lines to the blog awards, stating, “I was part of whatever I’m called“. No requirement to have to post that, on the poster’s blog, but it will be there if they want to use it.

So rules will be simple:

  • The poster might have a maximum of a week to do the post in (although it could be next day if they wish).
  • Must be willing to pass it on.
  • Must link back to the previous poster.
  • Must link to the next poster (when known).
  • Must post the link to the “home” trail page, presumably here, when I create it.
  • No re-blogs, other posts or links can be referenced, but the majority of the post must be original.

So thoughts please? Does it sound interesting, or is it a bad idea? Would you be willing to participate (don’t feel obliged on that one, you can comment and not have to volunteer)? Any questions about the details? Any suggestions?

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15 comments on “The blog post trail game aka the other map of blog

  1. paulaacton says:

    Sounds interesting

  2. Dan says:

    I’d be game for this. Lord knows that sometimes I have trouble finding things to write about.

  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    I think it’s a fun idea. It might be nice to collect a list of interested bloggers, so that when a blogger goes to pass it on, he/she has willing recipients to choose from. I’d feel bad about passing it on to someone who really doesn’t want to participate but feels uncomfortable admitting such. Then the trail might just fizzle out. It really would be interesting to see what people come up with. We all have such different approaches. 🙂

    • Elliot says:

      I think a list of willing participants might also be useful or maybe required, so someone can be chosen from the trail if necessary. Question is whether they must be chosen from the list, or the poster choses from the that or someone they know, who is willing to participate.

  4. Margarita says:

    That’s an interesting idea, Elliot! I have a whole slew of wonderful awards to pass along and have been struggling about how to do it in a way that is not overwhelming to either those receiving the tag, as well as to those who follow a blogger. Much as I love to check in on everyone, sometimes it’s just too hard to do all those wonderful writers justice, and then I feel bad because I’m not being as supportive as I’d like to be. I cast an “aye” vote to the more minimalist approach! xoM

    • Elliot says:

      It always takes me a while to catch up on the awards for the same reason. This one I thought of not so much for an award but just to see what comes out of it. Also so someone can participate and not worry about knowing 15 people to pass it onto and thus not entering the spirit. With one pass on (and I might also hold a reserve list of potentials), then it should be straight forward enough to participate.

  5. Smaktakula says:

    I think this is a great idea, really creative. I don’t think I could participate immediately because a) I’m not sure PT is appropriate for it (which might preclude me indefinitely) and b) because I have an outside commitment for the near future which precludes any sort of commitment on this level. However, I do think it’s a neat idea, and would be interested to read the results.

    However, as you have noted, the “pass it on to another blogger” is tough because the person might not be able to do it (although Carrie’s suggestion of a group of interested people would go a long way toward solving that). But what about having someone “sign up” for the next prompt–maybe the first comment. OR, would it be so bad if a couple bloggers wrote about the same prompt?

    I think you’ve got a winner here, Elliot. As you know, I’m fond of exercises which challenge writers, and I think this certainly qualifies.

    • Elliot says:

      I think I might go with a mix of people who want to leave their name / blog, and those that other blogs know who wish to participate. The main reason being that I want to keep the trail for reference, but I want it to reach much beyond people who look at my blog. I want to see where it goes. I think just registering to my site might exclude some people, for example if I saw the idea elsewhere, I might not sign up for it. However if someone suggested that I might want to give it a go, I would be more likely to participate. I don’t want to exclude potential participants who might be put off due to confidence, being introvert, or things along those lines.

      That said, it won’t totally work as there might be people who still get excluded, or wish to participate but are not chosen. So there could be more trails, but I would rather not put out several with one prompt, at least to begin with. It depends how popular it proves to be.

  6. Sounds like it could be interesting, especially if the subject matter can be treated any way the blogger wants to treat it, i.e., poetry, recipe, fiction, etc. I actually like this idea better than the awards…

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