Monday, January 28, 2008

What's A Blog And What Is It Good For?



[More thoughts on "How To Be Creative":]

36. Start blogging.

As this New York Times article by MARCI ALBOHER on December 27, 2007 points out for people with Shifting Careers: Blogging's a Low-Cost, High Return Marketing Tool.

Although small businesses with blogs are still a distinct minority, blogging can be a low-cost way to market and boost a small company's brand.

To better answer the question, "What's a Blog?" Seth Godin in his Blog on 1/23/08 turns to Brian Clark of CopyBlogger.

Seth is on record that he isn't a fundamentalist and his views on giving advice including on blogging is consistent.

I try to avoid any advice that includes the word "must." It seems like Brian has a similar take.

The thing is, for big organizations to embrace something, they often need the template, the strict rules, the golden path. TV commercials must be thirty seconds. Public companies must have a big lobby and a receptionist. Like that. The reason that there's so much pressure and focus on finding an ironclad list of musts is that the big and the slow demand it. That doesn't mean you have to listen to them.

What seemed most relevant for me as a novice experimenting with webloging was what rob or Robert May of Businesspundit wrote in his post on How Five Years of Blogging Has Changed Me

In it he talks about the Good and Bad of Blogging. For most of these, I am either too much of a novice or it is something that is just not the focus of this weblog at this time. I am just highlighting here, there is much more meat at his original post.

Good Bad
  • Contacts
  • Too Much Email
  • Money
  • Dealing with Yahoos
  • Thicker Skin
  • The Biggest Disappointment - No Funding
  • Discipline
  • Dumb Jealousy
  • Unique Opportunities
    and Resume Padding
  • Pigeonholing
  • Watching Cycles and Trends Rise and Fall
  • Public Failure
But I have begun to experience at least a bit of what he is talking about and take a good deal of useful advice from his experiences. These are in the order that they apply to me.

Clearer Thinking
Sometimes I don't have my ideas fully worked out, and writing about them has helped. When you try to explain something, it really makes you think through it.

My thinking has evolved during this process and that evolution of thinking goes back into the blog. This blog has opened up a number of areas of which I was only limitedly aware.

An Understanding of Blogs, Online Marketing, and Related Social Media Ideas
Lots of people analyze social media. I've been able to experience it first hand. I've had a post on the front page of Digg, many posts on the front page of Reddit, posts on,

I have had none of those, though I was happy to see that some people were clicking on to my Designing New Paradigms, online folder. I am getting a better understanding though.

Writing Skills
The best way to become a better writer is to write. While I have not developed the skills of a professional writer, I can definitely say that I have improved and am much more comfortable writing than I would have been if this blog never happened.

I am not sure of whether I am becoming a better writer or not. I still find mistakes or at least things could have been better said. What has changed is that the writing is becoming to have more meaning for me.

More importantly for me is that he provides advice that I can use in the future.

Don't Believe the Hype
All I'm saying is don't put people on pedestals. Few of them deserve it. And once you get to know most of them, they will tell you this same thing.

Randomness Matters
There is no way I could build Businesspundit from scratch to the traffic levels that it has today if I had not gotten such an early start. As I look at people who are much better writers and have much more interesting things to say than I do, I am reminded how much luck and timing matter in all things.

My version of this would be Serendipity.

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