Tuesday, July 6, 2010
What is this Blogging thing?
To get caught up, I read this excellent post by Ian M. Rountree. The main topic of the chat, and hence of Ian's post, is "voice" in blogging. But it seems like what happened is that a conversation about what Blogging is at heart blossomed. Is a blog something that should be written anonymously? If you have multiple people from your company blogging, should you broadcast that? Is Blogging writing? Is writing Blogging?
All of these questions are both important and thought-provoking. They inspired me to ask myself what I think Blogging is, or what I set out to do with my Blog(sssss). After some heavy mental lifting, here's where I am on the whole thing.
Blogging is a series of conversations aimed at one central goal
If you think about the Three Musketeers, what's the first thing that comes to mind? For me, it's "One for all, all for one." And oddly enough, that's what I think of when I think about a Blog. The "all" can be you and your readers, it can be you and your co-bloggers, or a combination. But the central core of the issue is that you are all generally interested in the same types of things, the same types of goals, and you want to share your opinions and anything you might have learned. That's a recipe for a conversation, right?
So while I was sleeping soundly (and I do mean soundly), folks on Twitter were debating how to approach a multi-person or team blog. Based on my perception of a Blog as a conversation, I would say the following:
1. Be transparent. Let people see different perspectives, different voices, and let them attribute those characteristics appropriately.
2. Before you put virtual pen to digital paper, have a plan. What is the "one" that you are all for? No matter who is writing and no matter what each individual's particular spin may be, a person visiting the Blog should not be confused at any point about what the conversation is about.
3. To show that there is an underlying sense of teamwork and cohesiveness, be interactive with your team members. Comment on each others' blogs, comment on comments for a post you haven't written, etc.
4. Don't try to out-do each other. Blogging is not about ego, I don't care who says otherwise! If one of your team members seems to get more comments than you, don't worry about it. Maybe people respond more to their posts but read your posts and think more deeply about them.
5. Make sure you make accessible a link where your individual voices really do become one. This could be a link to your website or even a link to a Facebook page. Conversations are great, but they might distract someone who is just looking for straightforward information.
A quick PS
I do NOT think that a multi-voice Twitter account is a good idea. On Twitter you have so little room to make big connections with people that leaving doubt as to who is talking can be deadly. I recommend the way Dell does it, for example - include some corporate prefix or suffix (or name) in your handle, then personalize so everyone has a separate but related account.