After all the lamentations I’ve made on this blog periodically about how hard it is to get local people to notice your websites or blogs I got invited, last minute, to a local blogging get together in downtown Syracuse. It was a lot of fun, and if you’re interested in my little writeup about the event check it out here on my Syracuse Wiki blog.
It was a lot of fun and I had a good time. Matter of fact, we all had a good time, so much so that we stayed 30 minutes past when we had planned on leaving, and I was ready to go another hour. I hope some of you get to do such a thing one of these days, as it was as much fun as some of the tweetups I’ve gone to.
Being me, once I got home I decided to look at all of the blogs just to see what people do and how they blog. After doing that, and looking back on the event, and thinking about a question Brian Hawkins was pondering lately about how people perceive what blogs are, I came to some random thoughts about blogging, perception, and reality. I decided to keep it at 5, otherwise we could be here for days. Here are my thoughts; I’d love to hear your impressions about these later on.
1. There’s no one way to blog. Yeah, I already knew that one, but this brought it home. We all live in the same community, some for many years, some for a few. Some of us have shared experiences, as I knew a few of the people there. And yet, each of us has something different to say in many different ways. Our language is different in how we describe things, and how we share our passions are different as well. It’s truly fascinating.
2. Images really do enhance blogs drastically. It was only a couple of years ago that I started adding images to every post of mine and I thought it was just a nice touch. As I looked at many of the blogs from the local people I realized that there’s something about images, especially personal images or images highlighting something folks have done, that makes some posts special. One of these days I’m going to have to figure out how to get myself into more of my images, although the ladies are easily more photogenic than I am.
3. The question about what makes a blogger is hard to answer. All of the people who showed up saw themselves as bloggers. Yet, about 33% of them haven’t written a new blog post in 6 months or so. Does the act of owning a blog make you a blogger, or are you a blogger if you’re actually blogging on some kind of a consistent basis? I’m one of those folks who feels if there hasn’t been a post within at least 3 months you’re not a blogger, but who gives me the right to determine such things anyway?
4. All bloggers need to find ways to communicate better with each other when it comes to comments. Only one of the blogs that I commented on actually sent me something telling me someone had responded to a comment I left. That highlights something I come across on many other blogs, where people sometimes actually have responded to a comment, but their notification system is out of whack thus commenters never know that their missives were responded to. It’s something we all need to check from time to time by leaving a comment on our own blogs, after signing out of course, then responding to it and seeing if you get notification from yourself; uhhh, use a different email address for your original test comment of course. lol If you don’t get a response, you know you have to fix it somehow, probably with a plugin of some sort.
5. When all is said and done, it’s about community. Even folks without a lot of blog posts or comments on their blogs crave a community of some sort, people they can relate to in one way or another. The night of our event it was cold, with wind gusts up to 40 MPH. The lady who put it all together said she was worried only 3 or 4 people would show up because of that, yet a lot of people braved the weather, which was actually worse the next day.
Why should we write blogs? I often say there’s only 3 purposes in writing a blog; to entertain, to inform, or to educate. It turns out there’s a silent 4th purpose; to connect with others. No matter whether you’re writing about food or interior design or poems or short stories or blogging or running or whatever, you’re hoping someone stops by, reads your words, comments or subscribes to what you put out, and at some point maybe talking to that person outside of a blog and, if you’re lucky enough, meeting some of those people in person. I mean, how social can social media get!
Those are my random thoughts; what are yours?