Things learned in my first year of blogging

Posted on 2 Jan ’07 by Earl

I’ve been blogging on MeanderingPassage for one year.¬† I started this blog in January 2006 and it lingered somewhere between life and death until April, at which point I became more dedicated in my posting. During 2006 I created 223 posts, which averages out to a post every 1.6 days mathematically.

Working on this blog has been a great experience.¬† Below are a few things I’ve learned this past year.

1. Consistent posting is not easy. There are going to be periods when you have multiple topics you eagerly wish to share your thoughts about, and then there are those periods when you can’t beg, borrow, or steal anything to write about. Most personal blogs don’t last one year because people don’t make it through these “dry periods”. There is no easy way. You have to work through these periods knowing that they eventually end. It’s the discipline you develop that’s important. This discipline will bid well for you down the road.¬† The “dry periods” don’t stop happening but it becomes easier working through them if you develop discipline.

2. You’ve got to write for yourself. You can’t focus your writing trying to please others. There are a vast array of people out there with an even vaster field of interest. Write for yourself, state your own opinion, share your interest and what you’ve learned, even if it seems trivial, and I guarantee there will be people interested in reading it. Looking back at the statistics of my post for the past year I’m amazed that some of my more popular post were ones that I thought were narrow and only for my own pleasure and interest.

3. Sometimes you need thick skin. If you follow the instructions in Step 2 there will be people who are interested in your opinions and agree with you. There will also be people who disagree with you. When you state your opinions openly on a blog you are inviting conversations.¬† People may strongly disagree with you opinions, even to the point of taking it personally.¬† Their response may be irrational and in some cases may be in the form of a personal attack. Be aware of the possibility of this happening when you write your post. Are you inviting these attacks or could you state your opinion in a lest offensive way? When attacked are your responses mature?¬† Remember, it’s your blog…don’t yield control.

4. Blogging is big, yet small. World population is approximately (estimated 2006) 6.5 billion. Total Internet usage is a little over 1 billion (estimated 2006). The estimated World wide blog count for July 2006 was around 70 million.¬† I won’t go into trying to define what’s a blog or if these blogs are active or not.¬† I couldn’t find any reliable numbers for blog world readership, so for the purpose of discussion let’s say that everyone that has a blog (70 million), reads a blog…which they probably don’t.¬† Then just for fun lets double that number for a nice round 140 million (SWAG) consistent blog readers.¬† Now let’s compare these numbers.¬† Only about 15% of the world population uses the Internet. Of that 15% (1 billion) only 7% (70 million) has a blog and only 14% (140 million) consistently read blogs. So if you look at the bottom line using these estimates, only about 2.1% of the world population will ever read a blog.

5. Blogging is subject to the same human politics, constraints, and¬† influences as the “real world”.¬† Blogging, like in sports, has it’s “amateurs” and it’s “professionals”.¬† Amateurs blog for the love of the “game” and their personal satisfaction.¬† They may strive for greater things but it’s more about the “game” of blogging then anything else.¬† Professionals are those that may enjoy the “game” but also seek notoriety, fame, and riches (for what there is).¬† Remove the rewards and many of these professionals would perhaps no longer blog.¬† Of course, just as in sports there are those who want and strive for professional status but never achieve it.¬† The most successful of these “professional” bloggers are sometimes referred to as A-listers.¬† As in any human environment where you’re dealing with a degree of power and money, those who have it will do their best to keep it and those who want it but don’t have it, will exercise all actions within their moral boundaries to achieve it.¬† Don’t expect everything to be balanced and fair. This is the “real world”!

Thanks for a great year and I look forward to meandering through the passages of another. I hope you’ll join me.

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