The First 100 Days: Observations of a Nouveau Blogger
I've been a blogger for a whopping 100 days, and it's been a delightful and educational experience. Some readers (Omer Trajman, in particular) asked me share my observations about my blogging experience, so here goes:
1. The more popular a person thinks he is in the blogosphere, the thinner his skin and the thicker his hypocrisy. This should be exactly the opposite: the higher you go the thicker the skin and thinner the hypocrisy.
2. The more a blogger uses the pronoun “I,” the less he has to say. Many bloggers apparently believe that people not only give a shiitake about everything they say, but that these people are hanging on to every word.
3. There are three kinds of bloggers: human newsbots (is this an oxymoron?), ranters, and essayists. Each kind is an art form. The third category, the essayists, might be the most difficult kind of blogging, and unfortunately, the category I aspire to. It's a good thing I have eight books to plagiarize. (Two “I”s in one paragraph!)
4. Not to be sexist, but some men make the blog, and some blogs make the man.
5. An expert who blogs is more interesting than a blogger who experts.
6. Blogging technology is a piece of cake. TypePad powers my blog, and this product is very well done. Plus, almost all the things that one would want a blog to do are (a) available and (b) free--or very cheap. For example, Ecto, Endo, FeedBlitz, StatCounter, BlogFlux, NetNewsWire, Feedburner, and FreeFind. The only two things that I can't find are:
- An automatically-generated table of contents. “Recent posts” only puts up the last ten posts. I need something that will go back to the very beginning.
- I want to do a “Dear Abby” column in which people post questions, and I answer. These can't be comments tied to a specific post because they would get buried. I'd like to create an archive of questions and answers that people can search. I looked at a couple of Wiki products, but I didn't have the mental energy to adapt them to my needs.
7. The vast majority of people who read my blog are kind, helpful, and intelligent. One, Thomas Kang, voluntarily proofreads for me. Sometimes readers will even write software for you: for example, three people offered to create a page counter that resets itself daily since I couldn't find one. (This is what you see as Kuba Choinski's “KubaKounter” on my blog.) A big cheese at TypePad also wrote a Widget for me that cause links to automatically open new pages.
How cool is this?! With this whole Widget thing in TypePad, maybe someone will create Widgets that create a table of contents and a “Dear Abby” column.
8. A tiny amount of people who read my blog are clueless. My favorites are the ones who complain about four things: the top-ten format; the bulleted-list format; the long length of my posts; and my plugs for stuff that I like. This is akin to going into a sushi bar and complaining that it serves raw fish. That's what a sushi bar does. Long top tens, bulleted lists, essays, and evangelism are what I do.
I especially love the people who threaten to stop reading my blog unless I stop doing one of those four things. Let me get this straight: You're going to stop reading my free blog? I hope they have a SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Bozo Apparatus) tank because they won't be able to hold their breath long enough.
9. I love this Technorati ranking thing. I know it probably doesn't mean much, but it's fun. I'll never play in the NHL, and I'll never start a billion-dollar company, but I could get into the Technorati top ten. Everybody has to have goals, and this is one of mine...
9 a. I don't get this “exchanging links” thing. IMHO, you should link to a blog if you believe it's good for your readership. The other blogger should link to back your blog if she believes it's good for her readership. In a perfect world, linking is about quality, not reciprocation, with all due respect to Dr. Cialdini. :-)
10. It's hard to make money blogging. The advertising revenues don't add up to much, but there are other significant rewards like helping people change the world..
Finally, a little story for you: At 11:00 pm a few weeks ago, my wife asked me, “What are you doing?” I wish I could have said, “Making money.” Instead I told her, “I'm changing the world, 15,000 people at a time.” To which she deadpanned, “Oh, you're blogging again...”
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