Starting A Blog #1 : Why blogging is unlike anything else you’ve encountered?

To blog is to be an important part of a media unlike any other. TV, radio and print media usually do not inspire audiences or listeners or readers to jump in and commence their own shows.

But a majority of bloggers get their traffic from other people who blog or who get involved so seriously in other online activities – like creating of social bookmarks or discussion boards – that the skill of blogging is actually like learning how to be a celebrity searching for appreciation only from other celebrity.

It makes ideal sense that the only mutual understanding among bloggers is a coin with two faces: there is the side you are likely to see a lot of if you begin a blog, the side where common suggestions about blogging itself is given.

Then there is a side not irrelevant compared to that side, but becomes a lot more complex and intricate -it is the design/technical side, which is always pushing for something more than pure blogging, and which very few individuals on the internet understand.

The deep point is that getting involved with blogging is getting involved with a technology that might or might not be a fad. Given that the same people that helped bring blogging about are looking for newer ways for us to communicate, ways that might centralize media again, what is happening now might be something very special.

Starting A Blog #2 : Should you blog?

There are people who think they know how to blog and can blog, and people who think they know how to blog and can’t.

The great majority of bloggers are the latter, and they can’t recognize quality, and they give far too much recognition to stuff that is worse than mediocre.

I say this with no bitterness. It’s the unvarnished truth. Look around at various blogs, not name ones, but ones people have set up, and you’ll start seeing something repeat incessantly.

Many bloggers will rip whole articles from mainstream media (MSM) sources and copy them to their blog. Others will cram their sidebar in the ugliest way with far too many ads and links to sites they don’t even visit. If the content is actually written by the author and the design is clean, then there’s the echo chamber problem.

Most people think they have vastly original thoughts when they’re really just repeating the exact same thing they heard on the radio or that everyone else is saying.

If it looks like I’m criticizing political blogs only, think about how repetitive how-to blogs are, and how many different people can give the exact same info. Also take note of how generic advice to bloggers in general is – it’s really one piece of advice, which is “network, network, network.”

Blogging is social, and most people are boring. Hence, blogging can be very boring.

You should blog if you have something to say that you feel will help others. You need to blog with a sensitivity to your audience, not with a “I’m saving India” or “Wow, this recipe for sugar-free chocolate cookies only shows up in 238 places when I search for it in Google, that totally sucks compared to the number of hits for the term ‘Narendra Modi’” or “There’s so much money to be made and it’s so easy! All I have to do is write?”

Starting A Blog #3 : Types of blogs

All blogs pretty much fall into 4 categories:

1. Complaining about media (this includes political blogs, sports blogs, etc.)
2. Giving general blogging advice
3. Technical (how-to, science blogs, anything of specialized interest)
4. Personal

You may be able to think of more categories, but the truth is that all these “categories” overlap – if you’re a blogger, you do a bit of each – and “personal” is the most critical one.

If you have a good personality, you could write about how you think your cat would make a great astronaut and get tons of traffic on that alone.

A lot of people encouraging others to blog emphasize expertise. They want you to be found for something that makes you useful.

Expertise means keywords and therefore the reasoning is that you’ll be found. The blogosphere grows at the rate of 1 blog per second – I’m serious – and the larger it grows, the more dependent one is on search technology to even be able to network.

For my own blog, in order to find like-minded bloggers, I’ve had to use directories and all sorts of link trails because, quite frankly, the Internet is already way too big for a search engine.

My own thought is that “expertise” may translate into keywords, but the search technology isn’t going to help you unless you do SEO full time.

Your best bet is to link the two things I’ve said – have a good personality, want to bring to an audience things that will help them – and work from there.

Starting A Blog #4 : Helping people isn’t about telling them exactly what to do

The best help you can give is be a good read. People still, even in this age where literature is all but gone, read romance novels and sci-fi and a million other things. Why?

I think the answer is that people do read, in part, to feel liberated from the world for just a second.

Even reading a “how-to” helps to some degree, because it gives you the feeling something can be done with a bit more ease. One doesn’t have to fight with something for hours and figure it out exactly in order to make it work.

So the personality you convey in your blog is everything. If you’re encouraging and helpful and want to bring your readers only the very best, it’ll show.

You’ll get the “expertise” you need – you might become expert at commenting on photography, you might write really neat restaurant reviews, you might spot very high quality blog entries – and you’ll be writing unique, original content merely because of the spirit you bring to blogging.

This could be a very special moment in the history of media. Please don’t waste it.

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