Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Of Picks and Clicks, and Grots, and Plots

A short tutorial for Blotanical members with questions:
Picks are the oil that runs Blotanical, determining the most popular of easily chosen blog Posts from multiple lists. Clicks determine the most popular blogs of the week, and the past 24 hours, by number of actual visits to the blog. Picks quickly add points for those aspiring to a higher rank.
Picks do not count as visits, because picks are chosen through a RSS feed. Clicks occur when the icon of an actual blog is clicked by a visitor. (Watch closely to see the word 'clicks' in the URL before it quickly changes). The icon may be in one of the lists of blogs: Most Faved, On the Rise, Most Popular or it may be on the plot of the blogger. The Directory page has random and chosen blog icons at any given time that may also be clicked. Another click that counts is to click on the name of the blog rather than the post name, in the lists of posts.

Neither clicks nor picks determine the status of the blogger as determined by Faves. You know if you've been Faved; notice is given. If the person who Faved one has a change of heart, the quiet deletion may or may not be noticed by the displaced Favorite. A low Fave number is to be desired, the most Faved member being number 1. A fairly good Faved blog status has been achieved by some popular bloggers by being Faved by admiring fans without much exertion of picking, clicking and Faving others. What does all this mean? I don't know. It's just a phenomenon of Blotanical. There is a finite number of Faves one can bestow. Picks and clicks are unlimited.

Plots give information about a blogger: When did he join blotanical? Is he participating in the Picks game? Does he visit other members' plots and blogs? Has he revealed a little of himself and his garden? Messages are sent and received here, private between two members, but public for all to read. Different than comments in a blog, messages are a mode of conveying appreciation, information or welcome.

The dynamics of Blotanical are no different from any other aspect of polite society. Surveys show that perhaps 10% of those who join become active. Splinter groups form: some who started out together some years ago; active newcomers; geographical groups; some with narrower interests like crafts or cooking. Among the individuals are some with differing intent: members who joined to increase traffic to their blog as a lucrative endeavor. They directly compete with ads on Blotanical itself. Shall we click and buy from them? Are they visiting others and offering support, or just hoping for a customer to wander in? Check their Plot.

Grot is a distractor here, meant to catch the eye and draw you into my post.
'With one of his keys, he opened a cool grot at the end of the yard, and they all went in.'
--Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend

French grotte, Italian grotta: a small cave with attractive features.

If I've drawn you into the Grot and you're not familiar with the terms Click, Pick and Plot, visit Blotanical to learn more about this world-wide group of garden bloggers.


  1. A nice short tutorial about Blotanical. I hope Stewart gives you a red star.
    Sounds like Christmas star - a star of Bethlehem.
    Nevertheless its a good post to read. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Thanks, James. I had some questions asked of me and was sorting out the answers. I didn't mean for this post to come on top of yours on the same subject, but to save it for later.

    I hit Publish instead of Save, dotty me! Usually I project a date so posts don't get published too soon. I was so surprised to find it done, oh, no!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Very good tutorial, Nell. It takes a while to learn it all. I'm not sure I will ever learn it all.

  5. Hi Nell Jean,

    This was very informative. I think some of the complexities of Blotanical can put some people off. I think your post simplifies things, which will hopefully help more bloggers to use Blotanical to it's fullest. **I wasn't sure what icon you wanted use, but I am flattered you used the front page of my blog.

  6. Hi Nell, Very well written. You definitely deserve the STAR.

  7. Great read. You diffenately got me with the 'grots', ahhaha. I do so like Botanical, full of great blogs and people like yourself but the competitive edge and all the importance on being popular really makes me feel uncomfortable.
    I'm sure your star in in the post
    ;) xx

  8. HA, Nell Jean, you sucked me in with Grots! Well done! You have explained some things I had no idea about, like clicks. I didn't even know there were such things, and have been with Blotanical for a long time and thought I knew it all. HA As for the faves, it is okay to remove faves to make room for new ones since we only get so many. Sometimes people are less active, or stop blogging altogether from the time when they were first faved. Mine have changed many times and will continue to do so. Keeps it interesting. Congrats on the star, be sure and tell Stuart you have written this, it does not happen automatically. But I am sure you already knew this. :-)


  9. I forgot to add that while everyone can see the first page of your messages on your plot, only you can see previous pages of older messages. Clicking on the arrow at someone else's plot will take you back to your own plot. I think it still works like that. So everyone cannot see the older conversations. I like that aspect of it. Also, if you delete the messages, you are also deleting the points you and the sender have received.

  10. Well this certainly helps me. I joined Blotanical last year, was in the running for best NC blog this year, and haven't been a regular visitor for a while. I'm part of that 90% that rarely comes around.

    I've found some interesting blogs through Blotanical, though I'm still not sure how I managed to do so. Maybe one cold and rainy day I'll head back over and update my own plot.

  11. Very informative...i wasn't sure about the clicks. I would give you at least 2 stars! :)

  12. Very good post Nell. I'll have to read it a time or two to get the info imbedded in my brain, and will also save it for future reference. Yes, do send a msg. to let Stuart know, that's how he knows to give you a star. You should get more than one.


  13. A red star for you Nell. LOL.
    I visit Blotanical often to see who is new to the group.
    I was just cleaning up my faves last night. If they have not blogged since spring or early summer I remove them and add new faves. I also want to see the profiles of where they are from and what they like to grown and get huffy when I see no profile given. Those I believe are just in there for the advertisement and do not care enough for actually joining Blotanical. Also any anonymous followers listed on blogger I remove them from my followers list.
    Great posting Nell!

  14. Hi Nell - Great information! And I so enjoy your style of writing. If you were not already one of my favorites, I would run right over to your blog and fave you!

  15. Very informative post and deserving of that star! I haven't been on Blotanical in awhile because I find it so cumbersome. I spent more time dealing with the user interface than I did with actually reading blogs - which is why I joined Blotanical in the first place. I still love it to find great blogs but I rarely go on it to do picks or to see what new posts bloggers have - instead I just "follow" a blog and then use Google Reader to stay updated on everyone's posts.

  16. You earn 1 red star from Stuart but get 5 stars from me. Yay! I love to see my front page in your esteemed blog. Thank you for using my icon. I just got my tongue twisted while pronouncing Picks, Clicks, Grots and Plots.

    Nell, I don't understand what the anonymous commenter before me is trying to say!

  17. Autumn Belle, there are just some people in this world who lack imagination, style and couth. They go to blogs where they're not wanted and spread their filth and garbage in insidious ways, hoping that someone will click on their ridiculous sites for a few pennies for them, or buy something. Their wares and their sites are undesirable, what? Their time would be better spent making a coherent site that would draw its own clientele.

    I've deleted two anons this morning and reinstated word verification. I hope it doesn't come to approval, one more step in the process.

  18. Thanks to AZ plant lady, Janie, Grace, Flowerlady and Autumn Belle for the use of your blog front page for illustration of the icons.

    Frances, you were my inspiration when I joined Blotanical. I scrutinized your blog to try to find the secret of Blotanical success. I learned it was just blog and be nice to others. Well, maybe there's an element of gracious inspiration in there too, but you know what I mean.

    Tom, come back to Blotanical, they love you. You get faves and picks all the time.

    Carrie, participation sometimes is just watching what goes on. Keep visiting, I appreciate you.

    Amy, Lona and Ellie, thank you for your kind words, we all approach Blotanical from a different direction.

    Anonymous, stay away from my Blog! Anything worthwhile has an ID attached. If I wear out my Delete key, I'll get another.

  19. Great post! I agree Blotanical can be a bit confusing at first, but I've never used software that wasn't.

    Don't forget maps! I love finding people close by, or far away, using the maps.

    Of course now Stuart is working on Navigation, and it will all change...

  20. Humble apology ... I have only now realised that each message I deleted lost me points, and you, so I am sorry. But on the other hand, I have reached guru status, despite the lost points!

  21. Thanks for the info. I've been using blotanical for a couple of months, but didn't know all the details of the inner workings.

  22. Are you sure that only 10% of members are active? This sounds like a very low number to me... But you are probably right, I have never thought of that aspect...
    Good tutorial!

  23. Great tutorial Nell Jean, I needed a refresher course in how to do it.

    Since Blotanical runs so awfullly slow for me, I usually read the posts in Google Reader.

    It can take over 2 minutes to load just one picks post, around here. I have asked Stewart what is wrong with it, but for some reason it stays this way. So if you don't find me picking posts that much, now you know why.


  24. Only about 10% of the members answered the last Blotanical survey, there is a list somewhere. The survey that Jean P made of some new members recently revealed that only 10% went on to become active members. Those are the figures on which I based my statement, and by the huge number of members and the narrow list who regularly participate which I estimated by the number of active Gurus, Masters, Fellows and Blotanists.

    Jen, I empathize with slow servers, mine has fits and starts sometimes.

    Gardener in Evolution, I'm glad if anything I post is helpful. Questions are in order if you need any of us.

    I use a reader for non-garden posts,
    outside Blotanical. There are actually interesting people who do not garden, but most of them have a dog, or some cats.

    Are we all eagerly awaiting the coming changes to Blotanical?


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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