Sunday, August 15, 2010
State of the Blog, 8/15/10
Inspired by my grief, and also, in a completely different way, inspired by John Jantsch's The Referral Engine, where I am reading about his views on blogging, I decided to take a little time today to talk about where my blog is, how I am doing what I am doing, and why I am doing those things.
What I'm doing now
When I first started blogging professionally, I realized something terrifying. People won't read your blog if they don't know it's there. Simultaneously, I learned that people won't follow you on Twitter if all you do is retweet other posts and alternate that with links to "interesting" articles. I decided to try to tweet links to my new blog posts. It showed that I was capable of generating my own thoughts, and it addressed both traffic problems at the same time. I would say I am rather pleased with my levels of success in doing things this way. The nice thing about promoting through Twitter is not just that you are potentially reaching huge amounts of people, but you can also let people know you are blogging about them or something they might be interested in. Harder to do that on other social networking sites.
Although I preach and appreciate the value of a blog "editorial calendar," I do not have one for this blog (as uh, you might have noticed). I am very fortunate in that it doesn't take much to get me thinking about writing something. Since I follow so many great people on Twitter (which has also directed me to their blogs), there is always a wealth of ideas to borrow from. Sometimes I'll just make a comment, but other times I'll respond with a post of my own. I might talk about something that comes up during one of the chats I'm involved in, or I might write about a current event.
I also do not have a schedule of when I blog. Again, I am very fortunate in that I seldom get brain cramped for too long. I generally like to blog once a day (I feel more than one is too much), but I don't freak out if I miss a day or two. If I miss three, I start to get itchy.
I am not getting as many comments as other blogs that I visit, but that really doesn't bother me, as I've discussed before. The comments I do get are thought-provoking and sometimes inspire another blog post through their brilliance. Besides, I would probably be the kind of "last person on Earth" people who would still write even though there was no one to read it. I like the sound of my typing that much.
Why do I blog?
The part of The Referral Engine I am reading now lists reasons why you *should* blog. I think a lot of folks are familiar with those reasons by now. SEO, networking, content, etc. But in addition to the shoulds, why do I blog?
Every blogger has an ego: This is hard to admit. I think that if I was a dessert I'd be humble pie with maybe a touch of ice cream. But if you are writing content in a very public place, there has to be some part of you that thinks you have worthwhile things to say. Ego is ego, a rose is a rose.
Hopefully Helpful: I have certainly not attained expert status yet, and I may never get there by various peoples' perspectives. Even so, I think that on occasion I have ideas that could help someone in some way, whether it's solving a problem or thinking of a sticky issue in a new way. Maybe I'm a showcase for what you don't want to do in your blog. Hey, that's cool too!
Captain's Log, Stardate...If you're a Trekkie, that line will sound very familiar. But did you ever notice that despite all of that very careful logging, there was seldom a time when Captain Kirk went back to reference what he had said on stardate whatever? I like blogging in part because it's easy to mark progress. I make a point of looking back on older posts, even though I haven't been blogging for all that long. Sometimes I think, "Yeah, I'm still happy with that." Other times, well...every space ship has a hatch out to space, and sometimes you want to use it.
Gathering my thoughts: Sometimes there is an issue that is rolling around in my head and I can't seem to get my arms around it. Blogging helps me with those situations. In trying to write about the topic, I get my brain to take each part of the buggy issue separately. Hopefully, I don't confuse too many readers in the process.
A timeless time capsule: Remember burying or unburying time capsules when you were a kid? To me, a blog is kind of like a time capsule, only you never bury it, and hopefully you never stop adding to it. I enjoy taking moments here and there to write about what the times are like right now. There is a lot going on that has never gone on before. People are worried about the future, worried about how they are relating to people, hopeful about what technologies might come next, and more. Why not try to capture some of that for later?
It's really fun: The most important reason why I blog is that it's enjoyable. I love writing. I have always loved writing, from the time I wrote a ten-page book of poetry when I was about 10 (very naturalistic poems on clouds and trees, btw). What makes this kind of writing even more fun is the sharing of ideas. At any given moment, I can be in the same virtual room as thought leaders I respect, people whom I enjoy talking to, and people I don't know. Like a pinball, ideas bounce off all of those people, and blogs are the flippers that keep them going.
What is your state of the blog? Why are you blogging right now? I'd love to hear about it!