I’d like to introduce you to Dawn Fine, whom you may know in other contexts as
Dawn and her husband Jeff have been full-time motorhoming for more than seven years and still love it. When and where they will settle down is a mystery, but for now they are enjoying the nomadic lifestyle. They love hiking, birding, mushrooming, shelling, rocking, and hanging out in the great outdoors as well as spending time with family and friends.
Dawn’s Bloggy Blog is the story of their travels around the United States in their home on wheels – a visual travelogue.
Welcome, Dawn. Tell us why you started a blog.
Eight years ago when my husband Jeff retired we sold our home, put lots of stuff in storage, and hit the road in our Homey on Wheels. I started out doing an email travelogue so that family and friends could keep up with our journey. At the time dial-up internet was our only option. As time passed and technology changed WiFi became available and I purchased a broadband card for my laptop.
This opened up a whole new world for me. I, for the most part, was always connected to the Internet. I decided then to start blogging our adventures. I could now embed video and photos…and write a new type of travelogue…A Virtual Travelogue.
My sister will tell you that I used to joke about inventing a machine that would enable me to transport family or friends to wherever we were. I didn’t invent that machine, but blogging allows me to take Mom and Dad, friends and family, hiking to the tops of mountains with me, viewing amazing rock formations in Utah, and seeing the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, the beauty in the desert, the vast stretches of beaches, and other wonderful things that we see as we travel.
What’s the best thing about blogging?
Blogging for me is like show and tell. The best thing about blogging is being able to show my family, friends and blogging friends what I am seeing, thinking , and doing.
It enables me to keep in touch with family and friends and meet new blogging friends.
I can take my friends and family everywhere I go…My own traveling community.
How has blogging changed how you think about nature? or how you write?
I can’t say that blogging has changed the way that I think about nature but it has slowed me down when I am in nature. I find I am waiting a little longer to capture that special bird or bug photo…waiting for the sun to rise or to set to capture its beauty, or just looking at things a bit more to find that special treasure to take home to my friends and family…and blog about it.
As far as the writing…Err ahh…I am not a writer…nor can I disguise myself to be one…tee hee. I am a simple gal, with simple writing skills. I can say that I appreciate and admire many bloggers who have a way with words and can take me places without pictures…with only their words…amazing…
Nope, I don’t do that. Simple. To the point, a bit of silliness…that’s me.
How do you promote your blog and attract readers?
This promotion thing is fairly new to me. I’ve always had a widget on my blog in order to see where people that read my blog were originating and a counter that I rarely look at.
I never used to keep track of how many hits I would have a day. I do love comments and was happy to see the number of comments increasing when I started interacting with other bloggers. I saw that others did Skywatch posts and started doing a few of those myself and had many more comments and more followers. I noticed that many of the blogs I read were members of this Nature Blog Network. A few months ago I thought I might apply…thinking that my blog, being a hodgepodge of everything, might not be the type of blog they would want on the NBN. Much to my pleasure I was accepted into this amazing community of wonderful nature bloggers!
I watched as my rating went from in the 900s down to the mid 100s. within a few months I was astonished and excited that I had quite a readership already. I think a lot of that was because I had already formed online friendships with other bloggers.
In order to keep a readership I have been using Twitter, Chirptracker and Facebook to show when I have a new blog post.
My virtual community is growing. I embrace Nature Blog Network, Blogging, Twitter, Chirptracker and Facebook as great social networking tools. I suggest all of you who haven’t tried them to do so. If you need any help…just send me a tweet…Ill be glad to help ya!
Is there a story behind the name of your blog?
There is absolutely no story behind the name of my blog. It was me being silly and fun and light…that is what I like my blog to be as well.
Do you feel you’re part of a community with other nature bloggers?
The best part about blogging for me is the community, the small virtual world that has been created by blogging. When I started my blog four years ago the only people that saw my blog were family and friends. Within the past seven months or so, I began to read other bird and nature blogs. I started commenting on these blogs and the bloggers would then visit my blog and comment. Friendships formed and I discovered a community that could move with me as I traveled. How cool is that! My blogroll grew from ten to hummm…I am not going to count…but at least ten miles long.
Birding and nature blogs are my passion…I can read morning til night if I let myself. I have became a Blogoholic. Yes…that’s me… and here it is out in the open for everyone to see…tee hee Dawn Fine is a Blogoholic!
During this time period I started using Chirptracker and Twitter to post bird sightings and chat with other birders.
In order to keep track of these birders who had blogs or used twitter or chirptracker…I created a Facebook group called Birders who Blog, Tweet and Chirp, where people could post URLs to their accounts and read of others who did the same. Greedy little Blogaholic me..picked up a few new blogs to read from the group. The facebook group Birders who Blog, Tweet and Chirp continues to grow…Please join us!
Now here is where this community changes for me and where face to face meetings take place. As Jeff and I traveled birders on Twitter and Chirptracker were telling us where to go see the birds and what to expect. Another amazing community! I suggest you all sign up for both!
I decided that it would be great to meet up with some birders and the first meet up was in New York with John of A DC Birding Blog and Matt of Chirptracker fame and his own blog Mattbango. We had so much fun meeting these two bright birders!
Another meet up was one that Christopher of Picusblog so kindly organized and suggested. I decided to make this an official Birders who Blog, Tweet and Chirp meet up. We had a great showing.and a fantastic time, which is posted at http://dawnandjeffsblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/birders-who-blog-tweet-and-chirp-outing_15.html. Christopher and others plan on continuing outings in New England.
As I blogged, tweeted and chirped and used Facebook to talk about these outings others became interested and we have more outings planned in the future. For example, we just had an outing July 11th in Milford, Ct. We had a perfect day and a wonderful time! http://dawnandjeffsblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/bwbtc-outing-milford-ct.html. Another event will be on August 15th in Minnesota – our first Birders who Blog Tweet and Chirp meets Birds and Beers (Birdchick‘s group). Should be lots of fun! Check out my blog for details.
Any words of wisdom for new nature bloggers?
Words of wisdom…humm…Be yourself, blog your passion, enjoy blogging…don’t let it become a burden. Embrace the nature blogging community! Amazing people out there!
Anything else you’d like me to ask you, or that you’d like to volunteer without being asked?
I have an announcement about the Birders, who Blog, Tweet and Chirp. I am very excited about this! John Briggs from Birding in Maine has been working on a website for us, actually for all of you who would like to start your own meet ups and outings.
The website is arranged by region and then by state. We would like to have area bird/nature bloggers representing their state or region who will arrange bird outings and meet ups. Let John or me know if you are interested. Meet ups and outings can be posted to the website. There is a discussion board, photo gallery, and much more. All of this is free for all of you to use. So please join and enjoy! We are hoping that more of you can meet your fellow bird/nature bloggers.
As we travel west this summer I will continue to plan outings for Birders who Blog, Tweet and Chirp. Please check the new website or my website to see if we will be in your area. We would love to meet you!
Thank you, Wren, and the Nature Blog Network for this opportunity to speak about my blog, and thank you for creating such a wonderful community of nature bloggers here.
Thank you, Dawn. Safe travels, and say hello to everyone from us as you meet up with your colleagues.