The Reader’s Survey Part 2: Admiration and Influences

Thank you so much for all of your great responses last week. It’s been a blast to read your comments and hear your stories. {I’m still laughing over “I’m here!”. Way to rock the corner, CK.)

I hinted at it last week, but I have to fess up. I had an “idea” when I started this project. My idea went something like this: that bloggers about the hobby would like and be influenced by the same people, as a rule. I mean, it stands to reason, right? Similar features and all….

I think it’s important to note the second set of questions I asked are about admiration and influence. There’s a difference, even though it’s subtle.

Admire– : to feel respect or approval for (someone or something); to look at (something or someone) with enjoyment

As an example, I admire James Lee Burke as a writer. His style is evocative, lush, compelling and immerses the reader into his worlds. I read his books ( yeah, I love Streak!) and I enjoy it. I respect what he does, and I approve of every single one of the many words (Oh, so many!) that are held in his books.

That’s someone I admire. I just look at it, go “ooh, shiny”. I might write a fan letter or give him some praise on his Facebook/fan site. But in the broad scope of things, admiration is usually done from afar. It’s generally not very common for there to be a lot of interaction between the two parties.

In contrast, influence goes a lot deeper than the casual relationship implied by admiration. Influence is usually very personal.

Influence: The power to change or affect someone or something : the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen; a person or thing that affects someone or something in an important way

An influencer CAN be someone distant and uninvolved; merely by existing their ability and or/ talent can offer inspiration and cause some kind of change. Usually the person being influenced has to feel an intense connection to the one doing the influencing. For example, my dad is a fiction author. He’s been INFLUENCED by Elmore Leonard, and has directly changed his writing style because of it. While my dad never met Mr. Leonard, he did read many of his essays on writing and acted on many of them. However, for the most part, influence is a much closer thing.

But you guys know that we break ALL the rules here at the House, right?  You’ll see what I mean in a little bit, but let’s just say that we’re counter to the norms in lots of ways. 

I also hinted that I might have interviews this week. The interviews are rocking, and the guys involved have a lot to say. I’m keeping the results of these conversations for separate posts, because they deserve it. 

As far as influences go, I was right and I was wrong, and it was a lot of fun to find that out. I don’t mind looking or feeling like a fool if it means digging into more information, learning something or having fun.

While talking to you about influences, I got a much stronger sense of how you identified as a gamer. There were painters/modelers, beer & preztel guys, writers, arguers, competitors and well… esoteric guys. (No ladies replied, but I did get an answer from a guy that shares his email with his wife.)  Our hobby is small but diverse, and the fact that there is room for all these types of guys makes me more than a little happy. 
The first two questions I asked were very “factual”. They basically asked you to “tell me when”.  The last two questions I asked were a little more subjective, and I should tell you all right now- watch your dice next time you play a pickup game folks, because you guys CHEAT.

More than half of you gave me 2 or 3 answers per question, making the data management very rough. I am more than willing to learn from this and plan differently/better for my next time (if there is one).

My next question was:

what blog or blogger do you admire the most?

You guys weren’t shy about answering this one. It was very interesting to see the various answers across different types of hobbyists. I DID get a lot of singleton answers, which I didn’t include in the chart. I will list those by themselves.  The rest I collated and compiled and put into the following:

I almost feel bad for splitting House of Paincakes and SinSynn, but the answers came in that way. I also sort of feel guilty for even including replies that included us at all, but I have to reflect what you guys told me.  I was surprised by two things:

1- that the answers were generally evenly split
and
2- so many of you mentioned bloggers that aren’t currently producing material

Well, those are the answers with multiple answers. Here’s the singletons, as best as I could compile them. I also hope these are the right links, as many of you didn’t specify with links- you said “so and so at XYZ”, but the blog url might have been XYQ or something like that. I tried my best to dig up the right places, so please correct me if I am wrong. It’s possible that I missed some, but I tried not to.

What Would Patton Do www.wwpd.net  

TableTopFix http://ttfix.blogspot.com/

The Man Cave http://tasmancave.blogspot.com/

Galaxy In Flames http://galaxyinflames.blogspot.com/

Frontline Gamer http://thefrontlinegamer.blogspot.com/ 

Musings of a Metal Mind http://musingsofametalmind.blogspot.com/

Tale of Painters http://taleofpainters.blogspot.com/

Legion of Plastic http://legionofplastic.blogspot.com/

Star Ranger http://www.star-ranger.com/Home.htm

Palladian Guard http://palladian-guard.blogspot.com/

Realm of Chaos http://realmofchaos80s.blogspot.com/

Sidney Roundwood http://sidneyroundwood.blogspot.com

Giles Allison http://gilesallison.blogspot.com/

Massive Voodoo http://massivevoodoo.blogspot.com/

Game Over http://kaptainvon.wordpress.com/

Craftworld Lansing http://craftworldlansing.blogspot.com/

Wargaming Tradecraft/N++ http://www.wargamingtradecraft.com/

Like I said, these replies really told me a lot about how you identified as bloggers and gamers. It was neat to see so many of you offering credit to such a wide variety of people out there doing such fascinating work. I found some new blogs to check out, for sure. 
The next question was:
What blog or blogger do you feel has been the most influential on the hobby? 
(And then I asked why. I should know better than to ask an open ended question like that!) 
You guys were just as unafraid of this one as any other, and the results were really compelling to me. There were more than a few answers that didn’t get a ton of votes, but got more than none. And then there were the big influencers, and I had to admit, I was surprised. 

I have to comment that this chart may be slightly misleading in one way or another. Because there were many of you that gave more than one answer, each mention got noted in my big data file. I compiled this information two weeks ago and have since gotten more replies, but I have not added those new votes in, just to keep things even with previous weeks’ information. I also wanted to note that while DickMove DID get a vote, I didn’t include it in the chart (nor did I include myself, because the person voting didn’t read the question =P) mostly due to one vote being difficult to measure among so many small pieces. 

For the most part, the “big names” were the people that got votes for most influential.  After all of the comments I’ve read and all the discussions I have seen, I was really expecting either more varied answers, or no clear blocks of decisive centers of influence. 
I was wrong. That’s ok, though. I don’t mind, for the sake of learning something or helping the community. 
When discussing “why”, a lot of you indicated that the people mentioned in the results MADE US CHANGE in some way- which is exactly what influencing means. And, many of you mentioned how it wasn’t always personal, but “big forces” that helped enact those changes. 
That was a direct contrast to the discussion of admiration, where pretty much every one of you talked about interacting with those you admired through email, forums, discussion lists or comments. I found that to be the most interesting – that we as gamers sought out those we admire and engaged with them, and let the movers and shapers move and shape us, rather than dealing with them directly in any appreciable way (for the most part). 
I had to change that- I had to know who these people were and how they changed us. I sent out emails and got replies, and I will have interviews with some of the most influential bloggers out there, starting next week. 

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