Blog wisdom: 40 key facts, tips and pointers
Photos: Wanda Hennig
This list of 40 facts, tips, key points and “how to” suggestions come from blogging panels and conversations at the first East Bay Beast Bloggers Bar Camp held at Tech Liminal in Oakland. (Read more on the event here.) Some comments are attributed. Others came from general discussion. All are from Bar Camp participants. (See Part One of this story.)
- Decide what are you trying to say? What do you want to be? Are you trying to tell a story? If so, what story are you trying to tell? Your own? Other people’s. Anything is OK. — Michael Winter — The Public Press
- Links are important — for the reader to fact check; and for the reader to get more info. — Michael Winter — The Public Press
- Blogs are just ways of managing information. — Kara Andrade — Spot.US
- (If you have an activist blog) having the opposition engage is good. (It gets people) coming to your site and (you get) dynamic conversation going. — Michael Winter — The Public Press
- No matter how hard you try to be scrupulous, you’ll always be criticized.
- You need to recognize and address the legit criticism. You know when it’s legitimate. — Michael Winter — The Public Press
Transparency is the new objectivity. — David Cohn — Spot.US
- I’m a big fan of the conversational style. I don’t talk (in a formal editorial) style, so I don’t write it. — David Cohn — Spot.US
- The blog is evolving. Where is it going? Who knows!
- There are blogs on recipes, kittens; whatever you’re interested in, there’s a community out there that probably shares your interests.
- Blogging is about connecting and community.
- It can be about selling things.
- If you have no time for comments, it’s OK. It is what it is. But it’s going to be difficult to find collaborators if you take no comments; if it’s just one way. — Michael Winter — The Public Press
- “I have a right to comment if you’re out there.” — David Cohn — Spot.US
- A blog gives you a personal platform. From there, you can drive the agenda.
You can decide on tone, voice and content.
- Like other social media, it is defined by its immediacy and interactivity.
What defines a Blog?
- It’s interactive.
- The immediacy.
- It’s a way of connecting.
- It’s tool.
- It’s a web log.
- Blogs started with people writing personal stuff.
- Blogs have grown into big (Web) sites.
- Blogs are content management systems.
- A blog is whatever you want it to be.
- Twitter is the new things right now. What’s going to supplant that? Anybody’s guess.
- Anything is a blog.
People say a blog is “not real journalism.” But look at newspapers. Are they real journalism?
What is a blog and how do you monetize it?
- From Erik Sundelof — founder All Voices (a outlet for anyone to report from anywhere on anything).
For me, a blog is an open space.
- Blogs are like brands of clothes.
- You have to blog about what you want to write about.
- Don’t write about something because you feel you should.
- Ultimately you will only gain a big audience if you’re good at it. You’re willing to put in hours, if you’re passionate.
- If you want to make money, you have to niche yourself.
- Then your job is content creation.
To earn money from blogging, you need to have some type of knowledge and you have to know social media marketing.
- If you can create interesting enough content, you can make money.
What about vanity blogs? A blog you start to promote yourself and your business? To blow your own trumpet.
- Whether it’s a nonprofit blog, a corporate blog, a personal blog, an activist blog, a business “vanity blog,” or any other kind of blog, if you want people to read it, write your blog posts to inform, educate and entertain.
- If someone else is blogging for you, be transparent. Don’t pretend you’re writing it.
- And don’t steal other people’s stuff.
Saturday October 24, 2009, marks the Return of East Bay Bloggers.
Visit the Tech Liminal website to learn more about the second Beast Bloggers Bar Camp. Participants will include social media consultant Cathy Brooks, a group from the UC Berkeley School of Journalism, and social media trainers / educators / bloggers Susan Mernit and Amy Gahran. The Public Media Collaborative is the event organizer.
[Nonprofit Note: Friday October 23 at Tech Liminal: Social Media for Social Action — A day of training and workshops for Oakland nonprofits and community organizations. More details here.]
Thanks for the writeup Wanda! I’ve learned a few things since the first Beast Bloggers’ Camp so I hope to be able to share with you.
I’m looking forward to the Return of the Beast, too. So much to learn and so much fun learning it. See you there!
Thanks. That’s a good list. There can be too many prescriptions about what a blog should be. I agree it should be what you want it to be. At least that’s what I think you’re saying with this list.
Hey, Wanda —
I like your list. It’s sort of past, present and future. Covers a bunch of things.
I like what you say about don’t pretend to be writing your blog if you’re not. There’s a big newsletter racket where people send out “their” newsletters and they’re not. Pretty dishonest, I think. Seems even worse with a blog. I’m talking about personal blogs with a name attached to them. What do you think?