Why Do You Write Your Blog?

Why do I write this blog, or any other blog? Why do you write a blog? What are you hoping to achieve? Are you trying to inform? Are you trying to make money? Do you have something you need to get off your chest?

fountain pen
Phil Hilfiker via Compfight

I ask this question after reading what can best be called a couple of rants by different guys. One guy, Merlin Mann, wrote a piece called Blog Pimping, and actually used a lot of the original rant, written by a guy named Jack Shedd, called Tacky. Both posts are pretty much against what they consider as the blatant marketing of blogs to make money by the professional bloggers, and what they perceive as what’s been created because of them, the professional commenters, whose only purpose is to try to hopefully drive traffic to their sites by commenting on these big time blogs.

Of course, one of these guys is marketing things in his own right off his blog, whereas the other guy, Jack, doesn’t seem to be marketing anything, so we can take each for what it’s worth. It still begs the question for most of us as to what our purposes are for writing our blogs, and whether we end up staying true to our souls more than our goals.

I don’t think I’ve hidden my goals for this blog; I want it to make money. So I write about topics that interest me, hoping they interest others enough to want to come back often to see what I might have to say. I like to think I’m not a one trick pony, though, as I slide from topic to topic and, occasionally, post something to entertain myself more than I’m probably entertaining someone else (remember the Yoda video?). This is a blog to make money, but it’s also a blog to have some fun with. I don’t see myself as one of those guys who’s ever going to make blogging a 24/7 job; could happen, but I doubt it. I have way too many interests for that sort of thing.

And of course there’s my other blog, the professional one, Mitch’s Blog, whose purpose isn’t necessarily to make money (though I do have Adsense on it; I’m not a fool after all), but to inform and show people that I have some competence with my main career as a consultant. Maybe indirectly it’ll convince someone to request my services, and I may make money that way, but it’s intention isn’t to do it straight out.

Still, a good question to ask is why it seems to matter so much to someone else why a person is writing whatever it is they feel like writing, and why it’s disturbing them so much. Truthfully, I read a lot of blogs, but there’s many more that I’ve taken a look at and decided I don’t want to read for one reason or another. It’s just like television; if you don’t like the program, turn the channel and watch something else. Not that I don’t find a blog post every once in awhile that gets on my nerve, but to rant against someone because they happen to be successful sounds like the people who gripe against musicians who allow their music to be used in commercials; life was never that pure to begin with, and it’s certainly not going to be that pure now.

For the moment, I have another career, so I’m sorry if I can’t put together 1,500 word tomes on my blog just to pad the stats. But I’m near 600 words; that has to count for something. And people, if you want to comment on my blog to try to drive traffic to yours,… by all means!

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Why Are We Attracted To Twitter?

As I write this, Twitter is down once again, and I’m irritated. I should have been wondering why I hadn’t been hearing the little sound I get every 5 minutes or so when another acknowledgment of a Twitter post from someone that I happen to be following, and now I know why. Actually, I wouldn’t have known then if I hadn’t tried to post something; I’m irked.

Actually, seems I said that same thing almost two months ago when I first wrote about Twitter getting on my nerves because of all the outages. And yet, here I am, still trying to get back on at some time, and it would seem I’m not alone.

There was a recent article which indicated that Twitter is actually growing in popularity, even as people are finding other micro blogging sites to visit such as Friendfeed. This even prompted Amazon creator and CEO Jeff Bezos to invest $15 million into the project.

So, what’s Twitter doing these days instead of taking care of its customers (which is kind of an interesting term, since they still haven’t figured out how to generate revenue)? Well, one thing they did was acquire a social search engine service known as Summize. It seems they’re also testing a new design, though, according to the story, not everyone has seen it yet.

So, Twitter isn’t just standing by doing nothing, but it still makes one wonder why they’re not taking better care of its present customer base, which happens to be us. As I said in the other article, I like the idea of the service; I only wish it was more stable. Of course, I bet if they started charging for the service it would work better, but I wonder how many people would stay? Do we want to pay to blog, let alone micro blog? Probably not, but my thought is that, until Twitter figures out how to capitalize on its membership, we’re going to be on the short end of the stick.

And I’m not happy about it one bit.

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Can A Niche Be Too Defined?

I’m going to touch upon what might end up being a sensitive subject, but I feel I must.

There are lots of pundits out there who say one must have a defined niche so they know just the market they’re trying to get, and hopefully will have that particular market find them. I understand that in general, of course. After all, this blog, though I get conversational from time to time, is more about blogging, online marketing, and the internet. And my other blog is on business topics related to people and leadership.

Vintage cars are a good niche

However, I wonder about niche’s that not only seem a bit too defined, but also seem, well, “exclusive” instead of “inclusive”. In other words,by their general definition they seem to say to others “stay out, you’re not wanted”; at least that’s how I see it.

I’m talking about niches such as “work at home moms” (WAHM), religious based, or ethnically based businesses. From where I’m sitting, I’d be immediately knocked out of two of the three, and on that third one, I’m not sure I’d identify myself as “only” being a member of that group because I think, if others had my same thought process, that it would keep some people from coming because they’d feel like I was part of an exclusive club that they weren’t invited to.

Of course I know that’s not really the case, but appearances really are everything up front. Any time you’re doing something that seems to be weeding other people out, or putting a stamp on their foreheads, you risk alienating a big part of the population, and impacting your opportunity to generate true revenue.

I’m certainly not saying don’t be proud of who or what you are. For me, as a black man in America, I’m not backing away from anything like that. However, I’m not identifying myself as a black businessman, or any of my businesses as black businesses, because I want to invite everyone into my digital or business living room, where I’ll serve up some virtual cherry Kool Aid and low salt corn chips and we can have a nice little conversation with each other.

Then again, some of this reminds me of a post by Steve Pavlina when he wrote about why one shouldn’t have a religion, which I thought was a bit over the top, and then he followed it with his post on feeling blessed, which was very nice but leaves one confused in some fashion about whether it was a good idea to write the initial one in the first place. My intention definitely isn’t to stir the pot; it’s to ask the question about how much niche might one consider as too much niche. Of course, if you’re looking to only work or market to specific people, then go about your business; after all, it’s what the separatists do.

And man, do those folks know how to market. Still hate them, but they’re everywhere! Overall, what do you think about this?

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