Not really 101. My brief six months of blogging does not quite qualify me to teach this level of blogging education. Either way, I thought that I would give you some of my thoughts, colored with shades of green as they may be.
I like blogging. I don’t really know why yet, but it is fun. It is a chance to share, teach, fellowship, and have fun all in one venue. The blogsphere seems to be tolerant to my blogging so far, crazy as some of them may be. I have been pleasantly surprised by regular attendance of the blog. In fact, of all the ministries we offer at Reclaiming the Mind, the blog has the most “attendance.” Internet marketers call this “stickiness.” I guess one would expect such since it is updated so regularly. I am learning, and the learning curve is modest, yet full of interesting nuances. Anyway, thanks for your interest.
Here are some things that I have learned thus far (and this is NOT blogging Gospel):
1. Blogs are dangerous; be careful.Â Blogs have a way to lead you into your personal no-man’s land that you never go except in the recesses of your own mind from time to time. This is both good and bad. It is good because your no-man’s land is shared by many. They will appreciate you candor and transparency. People are looking for transparency to counter the veneer that has covered many for so long. You let them know that they are not alone. It is bad in that there are always going to be people who are still covered in veneer and have fooled themselves with their own covering. They will read your thoughts in a very judgmental way. It is also bad in that there are just some things that need to stay in the recesses of your mind. They may be fleeting thoughts, rash ideas, or the product of a day of chemical imbalance. Thoughtfulness is the key. Have you really thought through what you are going to share. Does it really represent who you are?
2. Know your audience: Maybe “know” is not a good word by itself. No, its not. Add the word “intended” and I think it will be right. Know your intended audience. You need to be preemptive in your determination of who your readers are going to be.Â As far as I can tell, there are four different types of blogs with four different audiences (even though there is some overlap).
- “Give me the latest”: There are those who are interested in the latest news. They don’t really care too much about anything else. These types of bloggers will check your blog like they do the front page of the newspaper. Therefore, you have to be like a reporter, researching your connections daily. Your blogs don’t need to be long. In fact, they can just be links to other blogs, stories, or internet sites. Justin Taylor does this well (among other things).
- “Give me the depth”: Many will connect to your blog because it has posts that contain depth. These types of people are looking for someone to inform and challenge their thinking. They don’t really like redirects and links unless there is a commentary of some substantial value connected to it. This type of blog is not for the faint of heart. Bloggers in this sub-venue have a lot of stress because they have to come up with something new all the time. And three times out of five, youÂ had betterÂ hit a home run. I don’t suggest that you start one of these blogs unless you are of a certain personality that is very reflective, otherwise, you will find yourself at a loss as to what to write and finally default to a blog onÂ . . . ahem . . . blogging. Michael Spencer at Internet Monk is the best I have seen here. After five years, he still has good stuff to say.
- “Give me you”: This is a personality driven blog. Those who attend here will be seeking to get to know you better. They want meat, but normally it centers around your life and circumstances. It does not necessarily have to be deep confessions, or testimonies of struggles (although these are essential), but these types of blog readers are interested in your weather, your cat, and what you have in the refrigerator. I think Scot McKnight does a good job here. Normally, this can only beÂ successful byÂ someone who is alreadyÂ known to some degree. For example, which of these blog headers would tempt you more: “InsideÂ myÂ refrigerator” by Chuck Swindoll. Or, “Inside my refrigerator” by Joe Jones? See, you are already clicked on the Swindoll one. Who cares about Joe Jones?
- “Give me everything”: This is your one stop shop. This is the Wal-Mart of blogging. All that I mentioned above is found here. This is quite a juggling act that should not be tried at home without supervision. Houdini tried this and died. Anyway, you get the point. I am not sure that this is ever the best way to go about it, although young bloggers do default here – and end up in Arkham Asylum. By the way, I would love for you to come visit me. Bring some chicken Alfredo. I am so hungry that my
banevein is popping out in my head and I am tempted to start robbin’ people. (If you understand what I am sayingÂ -Â nice!)
3. “Don’t start what you are not going to finish”: Because the nature of the “give me depth” type blogs are based upon reflection, musings, and thoughts of excitement, it is easy to start something that never gets finished. While this is not so bad to do every once in a while, if it becomes habitual, you will lose many. Bear down and bite the bullet. I know that what you have started has turned into a book project, but you need to finish.
OK, green as they may be, those are my first three. (Oh, #4, don’t try to be cute and rhyme, and #5, don’t have a category on blogging like me – that is just sad.) As always, thanks for reading, you all are so great. I mean it.Â I would not be here without you. (Oh, oh, #6, don’t kiss up to your audience, it is a sign that you are surprised that they are there and are scared to lose them. This is a sure sign of your insecurity. It will make them feel nerdy for being there).
BTW: In case you were wondering, here is the inside of my refrigerator.