Monday, September 10, 2007

Blog Review: The Misssy M Misssives

The blog: The Misssy M Misssives

The Reviewer: Nutmeg from Simply Nutmeg

Stick with me on this one because we all know we should never judge a book by its cover, and first impressions are often wrong. This said, my first impression of this blog was, "YAWN!" The design is one I've seen frequently -- a standard Blogspot theme with no header and a slightly confusing sidebar. I found the lack of "about me" information very frustrating. Flying Martinis? Is this a bartending blog? Misssy M Misssives? The most I could glean at a glance about her was, "That's me." Nothing informed me that the blogger was from
Scotland, and why the extra letters everywhere? If I had found this blog by surfing, I would have clicked off quickly, never to return.

Enough said. Here's my advice: Customize the blog just a bit with a clear header and more defined sidebar. Give us a much more thorough "about Misssy" even if we have to open up a new page. Maximize the potential of your exotic location (exotic to me and hordes of others); tell the reader upfront where you live. Please tell me why there are so many extra letters; do you lisp?

Here's the thing: the day I landed on Misssy's missssssives, she had posted 1001 words about ketchup. If you've read my reviews or my own blog, you most likely know that I have a problem with long blog posts. This position is an educated one. A very large body of research on internet reading points overwhelmingly to the fact that we read differently on the web than we do when reading a print document. When we read print, more than fifty percent of the time we will flip to the rest of a story or article continued on a later page IF the writer has done a good job of hooking us and building the momentum to the continued part of the article. When we read on the web, rarely are we willing to page down for content. Web readers seek short, well-written, concise bites of information. We look for interaction on the page: links, internal pages, comment sections. We do not want to read 1000 words about ketchup. Missy posts regularly, on average, every other day. She does not link often.

That said, because I was reviewing, I read through a ton of Misssy's content, and slowly, very slowly, found myself getting hooked! Misssy writes extremely well and nothing pleases me more as a reviewer. She is clearly intelligent, has a droll sense of humor, and, best of all, her content is extremely varied. You can't predict what Misssy will tackle from day to day. She may reflect on her exotic travel, old lovers, Madonna, ketchup, a Yeats poem, her work, or the telly. You can predict that she will use a lot of words in her reflections.


Best: I came to thoroughly enjoy Misssy's writing and I loved the glimpse into life in Scotland. She has a bright and quirky brain and sees things in ways differently from me. I love her turn of phrase, subtle sarcasm, and perfect grammar!

Worst: I have read Faulkner; I like Faulkner; but I would not read a blog written by Faulkner. Blog readers tend to be people who work for long hours at a computer, like myself, and break up the day with quick blog reads. Misssy is rarely a quick read. My mind wanders. I start to skim. I start to obsess over those extra s's...


With only a few design changes, more links, and more condensed posts, I think Misssy would really fly. I'm sure I'll come back to her blog regularly now that I've gotten to know the Martini's. Will I finish every post? That remains to be seen!


I'm going with 7 with the disclaimer that this blog has great potential to be a Bo Derrik. There's proof of it in Misssy's TOPBLOGMAG piece from last week. It's a must-read!


Misssy M said...

Oooh I wasn't expecting this so soon! I feel like an unexpected visitor has come to the door and the house is a mess!

Thanks Missy Nutmeg (see I've only given you two s's!) for such an interesting critique. It is definitely food for thought.

I knew I'd fall down in the design category- I'm not good at HTML or whatever it is and wouldn't have a clue where to start to redesign, but in saying that I would love to. The standard Google template is dull. I must enlist help and will definitely take your critique on board.

Thank you for your kind words on the content. I can be wordy, I know, but I hope the content is interesting enough to override that.

As for the many letters, I'll put you out of your misery. Misssy is my nickname, the Flying Martinis are my family- it has always been thus and always will be. Simple as that!

And for the record that is the first time I have ever heard of Scotland being described as exotic!

nutmeg said...

Ha! I live in Pennsylvania! Believe me, Weegies are exotic! (I had to Google that word:)

I can talk the talk on design but I'm right there with you - html-challenged!

Gordon said...

"When we read on the web, rarely are we willing to page down for content."

nutmeg, you need to update your research. Whilst reading online WAS considered something 'people didn't do' that research has been challenged and proven wrong in the past couple of years. The theory persists but isn't always correct (there are limitations though, I agree).

Other than that, yes, why ARE there so many "MMMMs"?

Yours, another weegie.. ;-)

billythekid said...

good well written review and fair I think. I have the misssssssssives in my blogroll and continue to enjoy the postings.

I agree with your comment of post length as I have also done "let's see what's been written today....hmmm, i'll read it later" but that's OK as I have her bookmarked, unlike a surfer. Perhaps a WP style "click here to read teh rest of this" would allow the content to stay but the initial impression of the page would be easier on the eye(brain!)

Thanks for the review(and missy for linking to it). I'd say(again) it's a fair picture of the blog.


Mr Farty said...


"Nothing informed me that the blogger was from Scotland"

"Misssy M: That's me. Thirties, Scottish, script-writer, producer, lecturer and ringmaster of my family, The Flying Martinis."

Either she's updated her sidebar today, or you failed to connect the adjective "Scottish" with the concept "from Scotland".
And not everyone is comfortable with adding any more detail than that.

Given the standard Blogger theme, the use of extra "S"'s helps to brighten it up a bit.

I don't like reading long posts either, unless they're attention-grabbing. Like hers. Thank you for pointing out the latest ketchup post, which I have now had a chance to, er, ketchup on. Sorry.

I'm glad you stuck with it, thanks for the review.

nutmeg said...

Hmmm, Gordon. I refer to Shaihk and Lenz, 2006. If there's more recent research that contridicts I'd be interested in reading it. Thanks!

Misssy M said...

Hi Farty- Nice to see you over here. I did add the Scottish thing today as an experiment based on what Nutmeg said. Us being exotic and all that! I'm still tickled by that!

But you are right. I pretty much don't want to give the whole game away in my profile. I'm not anonymous but I am also not silly. (Well, I am a bit) Thanks for your kind words. xx

nutmeg said...

Hey Misssy!

I'm flattered that you took my words seriously - the new header and sidebar look great! You have some serious fans, Girl. I'm taking some heat!
Lordy, did no one notice I said you could be Bo Derrick?

Misssy M said...

I tell you Nutmeg, I'm practically tearing up over the allegiances shown by my faithful lovelies!

Thanks for your comments about the simpler template. It does look better, doesn't it?

I do hope you'll keep reading the blog.

The Farmers Wife said...

I am a fan of Misssy's and a regular reader over at the Misssives so I was interested to see what this weeks reviewer would think.

I agree about the template, something that has been bugging me for quite a while now and I am so glad you changed it Misssy! ;)

I'm not so in agreeance about the post length. I have never once skimmed one her posts as I do with so many other bloggers. I find her writing engaging and the post lengths to fit the particular story she is telling.

A true testament to her work are the number of her regulars (ha ha, didn't mean to make you sound like a 'lady of the night' there Misssy) that came over and defended her.

A good review for a very good blog, thanks Nutmeg.

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