My first experience with a blog was sometime around 2002 when I discovered Oblivio.com by Michael Barrish. If you choose to visit the site, you’ll have to Google it, as the content is rather raw. It’s also outdated. It doesn’t look like he’s posted anything since December of 2007.
I was intrigued by the fact that he had managed to chew his fingernails off to the point of not being able to grow back. Not sure how this happens, but I saw pictures and had an in depth e-mail exchange with him regarding the topic.
I was immediately intrigued by this world of blogging. The platform of the day? MoveableType. I don’t use it anymore because WordPress has taken over as the world’s leading platform. I was so intrigued that I learned how to install the software and utilize it for my own benefit. The problem was that I was more interested in spouting off or ranting about things that nobody cared about than I was in providing valuable content, and it really didn’t turn out to be a benefit.
I looked at starting a blog as a way to move my personal journal online so I would never lose it. Not a whole lot of people care about what we have to say about ourselves as much as they care about us listening to what they have to say. People care about what we have to say that will help them do what they want to do.
I posted, and posted, and posted, not knowing a whole lot about why I was posting. I was in the middle of a pretty heavy breakup and I found it quite therapeutic to rant about my broken heart. I have since read some of those posts, many of which are basically cries of help to get me out of the emotional pit I was in, and they are radically pathetic, and very personal. It’s like those letters you write to a lost love that you need to write just to get the information out; not something you want to re-read, nor have others read, nor have her read. That’s a pending disaster.
So, my cleansing period ended, and so did my desire to blog. My desire to write, however, did not end. I have always been a creative writer. it was one of my chosen electives in high school and I’ve always enjoyed the writing assignments…the creative ones. The topics that require research bore me to death. So, I write about what I’m feeling, but I try to put an informative spin on it so it doesn’t sound too much like I’m talking about myself. This article could be an exception…I’ll let you decide if you want to keep reading.
Fast forward to 2005, New Valley Church, pre-Facebook. There was a period of time where everyone who was anyone had to have a blog because it was the cool thing to do. He starts a blog, so she starts a blog, and they start a blog, and blog blog blog. Vomit. Blogs about everything that nobody wanted to read. Family news blogs, personal journal blogs, “look at me” blogs; blogs that the blog-owner would write because they told themselves that they would write at least once a day but never did because they didn’t really want to do it.
First Rule of Not Blogging: If you don’t like to write, you will not like to blog. I don’t care how dedicated you think you are to keeping a “journal,” you will not write with the frequency you expect of yourself and you will let it slide, and it won’t matter, because you don’t have a passion for writing.
Second Rule of Not Blogging: If you don’t like to write, you will not like to blog.
Need I list anymore rules? Blogging needs to have purpose, and if you spend time writing, you need to spend time telling people about it, otherwise it’s sitting out there in the blogosphere with nobody watching.
Don’t start a blog just because you’ve been told that you should start a blog. If you intend to provide value through experience, and perhaps promote a product or solution to someone else’s problem, then publishing your expertise online is definitely a must in today’s world. But if you don’t really have anything to say, or share that is truly worth at least someone’s time then blogging about it isn’t something you would want to waste your time doing.
One of my closest friends expressed how discouraged he was because nobody interacted with him on his blog about Turkey Hunting. Now, I don’t profess to be a hunter, and although I would enjoy it thoroughly, I don’t have the time to get into hunting right now. Chad Taylor knows about Turkey Hunting, extensively. He knows so much about it that he could actually make a difference in the hunting world with the information his brain is carrying, and he could do it through a blog, and he could make money doing so. That is where the true value of his knowledge lies. When you publish your passion online, thoughtfully, intelligently, and with purpose, and you promote it with hours of hard work (big secret), you will find your audience, and you will be able to monetize the interested parties.
The difference between the published content that the gate-keepers control, and the content that the individual controls, is measured by the quality and relevance to the intended audience. We’re in a world where anyone can publish anything online, and I’ll remind you that we’re also in a world where some people are good at writing, and some are not. Those who have a knack for telling a story, or conveying an idea, or providing a solution or tutorial in a clear, concise, intelligent way will be the ones who draw an eye and establish an authoritative presence.
If you simply blog because they do, you will fail. But hey, failure is how you learn, right?
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