“Is Blogging dead?”
A serious question raised some time ago by American Internet entrepreneur and blogger Jason Calacanis. Calacanis says it quite frankly during an interview last year: “There are a lot of stupid people out there ….and stupid people shouldn’t write”. He feels that the blogging system has to change to stop the above group from writing. I honestly thought we lived in a society with freedom of expression.
I have written about blogging and expertise in the past and a question that comes to my mind is the following? How important is it to ‘know’ about the topic you blog about? And if it is important to be knowledgeable or even an expert how “extensive” should your expertise be?
An answer to this question goes back to the essence of what a blog is and why people blog. There are many different types of blogs. Some are informative, some are educational and some are just fun. Deep down it does not matter – point is that anyone can start a blog and use it to publish his or her thoughts. People have a voice and a blog is a means to express that voice.
Our motives to blog
It is not hard to start a blog but publishing a blog does not mean that anyone reads it. Even that may not be important to some people especially if they write for family and friends. For the entrepreneurs amongst you this may be slightly a different scenario. Your audience is more important and the size of your readership could make your blog a success or not. But does no readership mean the blog is a failure?
If I have a look at my own blog, things seem to have changed. I started ‘Blogexercise’ for myself to dabble at blogging and to learn all aspects while engaging in the blogging activity. A great opportunity I still think! Initially I did not think too much about readers and the blog was no more than a mode of expressing myself and my thoughts.
Then however, I started to get comments and followers. Feels great by the way! I am by no means an expert in blogging as yet but I am on my way to becoming knowledgeable. So by now you could say that readership could have more impact. Well in a certain way it does but it still has no influence on me writing posts and researching the world of blogging. I still go my own way and occasionally take some comments in mind and combine them with my content.
That makes it more interesting and I am somehow addressing issues that others may have regarding blogging. And that is what experts do, don’t they? So my question is the following: ‘what is against that’? Why does Jason Calacanis have such an outspoken opinion about large amounts of bloggers being too stupid to say something worthwhile’?
Calacanis reckons that nobody cares for insignificant news anymore – if you blog you will have to be an expert otherwise nobody cares. That may be, but such a view could also lead to missing out on opportunities and not having a go at something. After all Jason Calacanis must once have been a new kid on the block just as many novice ‘stupid’ bloggers out there.
Just to get a perspective….
I started Blogexercise in November 2011 as an experiment and I have written over 25 posts so far. I wanted to explore the blogging world or better blogosphere before I ventured into having a blog. Sounds bizarre but so be it.
I like to call it research and preparation for the real stuff. Anybody who wants to set up a business will have to do market research and acquire some expertise about what they are about to do. Just open up a random business book and you’ll find that one of the biggest cause of failure is lack of preparation.
My market research started with a blog. A blog is of such a nature that you can ‘explore’ while you are doing it. Imagine setting up a business and being able to have a practice run without it costing you a cent.
What’s next in line?
Digging deeper into the blogging world has taught me heaps and I feel very comfortable to explain blogging to someone and believe me there are many people out there who would not be able to tell you what a blog is! Also I have the expertise now to guide someone in making important decisions that I feel need to be made before starting.
In sum Blogexercise exists because I needed an outlet to help me make decisions about a blog about my passion. There are many things that fall into this category but a couple of things jump out being ‘styling of homes and gardens’ and anything to do with ‘food, wine and entertaining’. I have been dabbling at it through various small business ventures, some more successful than others.
Suddenly last year the idea of a blog hit me and it all began. And here I am blogging away and now with the confirmation that I love blogging and have in fact lots of to say.
The first baby steps!
Last week I have had a meeting with a young computer techie who is going to develop my blog. I have decided to have my own domain and buy hosting and will continue with WordPress. I have looked at BlogSpot, TypePad and others but feel comfortable enough with WordPress. So why change?
My ‘techie’ and I have discussed the concept and the appearance and after I have submitted a couple of mock posts she can have a go at it. I was asked to deliver some great pictures as well. I like to use my own pictures and I have a love relationship with my camera already for decades. I even ventured in to studying the topic at art school a long time ago. So here I am shooting ‘great’ pictures from various food items, plants and interiors. Good fun and I have been able to create some suitable footage.
It’s all part of the game!
When reflecting on this post I realise it is not about anything new or something that can educate you about another facet of blogging. It has turned out to be an evaluation and explanation of the purpose of Blogexercise. Such thought processes are relevant though when you want to start blogging unless you don’t care about things like planning and making the right decisions.
Anything you start can be changed at a later stage – very likely with some more effort or costs but it can be done. No need for panic but for me personally ‘taking my time’ has helped to step back, look at the various options I have, ask for opinions, read up on it and then let myself be guided by all these ‘bits’. Quite often the final choice just appears as it did with my blog about homes and food.
I have decided I will continue with Blogexercise as there is a lot more to say – maybe not as frequent when the next blog is alive. It can take a bit of time to prepare a good post – at least if you aim for relevance, novelty, truth and entertainment. Happy blogging!
What message do I have?
As promised I like to continue talking about content. I am inspired by a comment one of my followers made about not being able to find enough ‘topic’ to write about. This happened to be a result of ‘the feeling of not having enough expertise’. How often does this happen and does that mean that you should not blog!
I personally believe that it depends on the kind of blog you write. What is the purpose of you writing your blog? What do you want to say, achieve and above all share? My blog is about ‘learning to blog’ – after all it is called ‘Blogexercise, the road to professional blogging’. If I would pretend to be an expert while all I am doing is exploring the subject, I would be fooling you all.
My aim is to ‘become an expert’ by reading books, researching the web and talking to other people. I then like to compile whatever I have learned in a post for others to read and hopefully learn from as well. My main objective is to get a clear overview for myself but it is great to see that others benefit from it!
Do I have enough inspiration to keep on writing?
Another issue is ‘not having enough content’ to write about. A very successful blogger in Australia (www.problogger.com) once wrote that you should be able to write at least 30 blog posts about your topic. A good aim is to do this even before you start. If you can’t do this you may eventually run dry and have nothing to write about.
The reason you start blogging is because you have got something to say, you like to speak ‘your’ truth and talk about the way you see how things are. If you can’t do that, why would you bother! Don’t be one of the thousands of blogs that ‘hang inactively’ in the blogosphere.
Tara Frey (www.bloggingforbliss.com) reckons that readers connect more with you if you stay faithful to your truth and as a result words come easily. And she should know as her blog gets thousands of hits per day and in 2008 ago it was was honoured Typepad Favourite Blog! Something to aim for.
How to find content……….
- Look around and see what inspires you, irritates you, makes you happy or sad and most of all discover what is close to your heart.
- Then do something with, discuss it, embrace it or fight it.
- But approach it with passion and you’ll find the words will flow!
Are you an expert?
While sifting through my blog posts to evaluate what I have written so far I realised that I am blogging about something that is not ‘exactly’ my area of expertise. At least it wasn’t before I started to look into this subject. Funny enough this apparently goes against the rules of running a business or in this case writing a blog.
While browsing in the library I came across a book with an interesting title. Inspiring enough to take it home. The book was called: ‘How to make a million before lunch time’ by Rachel Bridge, www.rachelbridge.com. I started reading it and I was hooked. Let’s be honest – who would not be tempted?
Most of these books including this one, make becoming a millionaire sound so easy. The writer mentions that you have to be ‘good’ at what your business is about. According to her there are quite a number of people out there who start up a business while they are not an expert in what they offer. ‘A recipe for failure’, she reckons. And it makes sense, doesn’t it?
Inspiration to write a blog
Does this apply to blogs as well? How many bloggers are there who aren’t experts? Does this matter? Isn’t the nature of a blog that you can publish anything that interests you? After all you could be exploring the subject, learn about it and put it in your blog.
The same writer mentions that one reason for starting up a business could be ‘the aim to improve something. Have you ever been frustrated with a product, a service or a treatment and has it ever inspired you to want to do something about it. I personally have many times.
Who likes bad service, bad products and above all complicated topics? How many times do we research something to find out that it too confusing to understand? The information out there is often overwhelming, confusing, too specialised in its use of language – expecting us all to have a law degree – and quite often contradicting or missing essential pieces of information.
Is this not a perfect reason to start blogging? To have a good old rant and to find ‘mates’ who share your frustrations. To connect to people who have had similar experiences and who could help you shed some light.
Does it matter if you are no expert?
I like to say no! It could be interesting as many people may have similar frustrations. By reading your blog they could find recognition of their feelings and hopefully some tips to make improvements. As a blog is not a scientific paper, it can attract different opinions which may lead to an interesting debate or heated discussions. What does matter is ‘pretending’ to be an expert and ‘borrowing’ someone else’s content.
An interesting topic for my next post…..