The Eight People You Meet in Blogging
April 13, 2008 10 Comments
A couple big unrelated Techmemes of this past weekend are actually two sides of the same coin.
First, there was the heavy discussion around Shyftr and the loss of a blogger’s comments. The comments exist elsewhere, and bloggers lose connection with their readers. Second, there were a lot of opinions about Andrew Baron’s sale of his Twitter account, and its 1500 subscribers. The blogger is not bemoaning the loss of connecting with his readers; indeed he’s actively encouraging it!
Here’s what these two stories made me ask: Just why are you blogging?
Blogging is a quite personal pursuit, and we all have our own reasons for doing it. Feeling a little ambitious, I sat down and came up with eight different reasons that people blog. The eight people you meet blogging. Here they are, and they are not mutually exclusive.
1. It’s a numbers game
There are a lot of ways to get readership. For some, increasing this number is the be-all, end-all. Blogging numbers are the point, not an outcome of some other reason. Case in point: Faisal Anwar. He writes about his efforts to maximize StumbleUpon traffic to his site. He figured out that funny pictures drive StumbleUpon positive reviews, leading to more StumbleUpon visits. So he loaded his blog posts with funny pictures, to the point of losing sight of his blog’s focus:
Unfortunately for me, I pumped in too much picture to my site almost every day until it became a humor site (that not my original intention).
2. One-way communication
Blogging is a forum for mass dissemination of information and opinion. Probably the best way to think of this type of blog is as a marketing vehicle. Yeah, some response back to you is OK. But that’s not the real purpose now, is it? The larger the number of followers, the harder it is to maintain connections with them.
Andrew Baron’s sale of his Twitter account…what do you think the purpose of his Twitter micro-blog was?
3. Provide valuable information to others
This is probably the most altruistic of blogs. The American Cancer Society maintains Dr. Len’s Cancer Blog. Consumer Reports maintains a safety blog. These blogs can be a bit freer and more opinionated about information, making them more engaging than just static articles.
4. Make money
A time-honored pursuit, making money. Ad money, to be specific. Engadget, TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, Mashable. Check out their ads – they have a lot of them. Eric Berlin even notices that Mashable has a lot of ads. These blogs put a premium on speed, frequency and exclusives. And a good dollop of opinion sure to drive page views.
5. Establish your reputation
A perhaps overlooked aspect of blogs is that they can establish your reputation out in the world. Seth Godin asks Why bother having a resume? He argues that instead of a resume, you should have “a blog that is so compelling and insightful that they have no choice but to follow up.”
A friend of mine at a law firm told me about a 3rd year associate who blogs. His intellectual property law blog is read by a number of industry folks, and some senior partners in New York have reached out to him with questions. Talk about establishing your reputation!
6. Influence your industry
Michael Arrington. Robert Scoble.
7. Learn by doing
This is why I started this blog. I’d been primarily at the lowest level of the Web 2.0 Jedi ranks. I then took a job working on enterprise 2.0 product marketing, and knew I had plenty to learn. So this blog is a two-fer. Blogging itself has been a tremendous experience that I really enjoy. And I blog about a lot of Web 2.0 topics. This has forced me to really grok these concepts.
8. Learn by connecting
The interactions on your blog posts can be incredibly valuable and rewarding. You learn so much about how others think. The loss of this connection robs the blogger of feedback about his or her thinking, and that of others. And thus loses an opportunity to grow. This last reason may have been the biggest one to fuel the Shyftr debate over the weekend.
What do you think? Fair assessment? Did I miss any other reasons?
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