Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What blogging means to me

Dave asks how blogging changes beliefs.

My own blogging I've learned a lot of things because I wanted to join in the conversation. Reading Doc, one gets a sense that climbing the tail is the only way to go... so I signed on to that mission.

One of the things that rubbed off on me from my day job is that one should have clear goals, and measureable results. My goals for this blog at this point are:
  • find my voice - a vague 60's sounding thing reminiscent of "finding myself"
  • express myself - vague as well
  • improve the human condition - nebulous and vague as well
  • measure my rank - this is ego, pure and simple
  • not waste my time doing the above - well... that will always be up for discussion
So, I have no rock solid goals. I defintely do not expect to make a dime off of this. I charge $100/hour to fix things for people if compelled to do so, and that's dirt cheap... blogging is definitely not a money motivated thing for me.

I share Dave's dislike of bullshit, marketing or otherwise. Nobody likes being manipulated, and I'm especially sensitive to it, or I like to think that I am. Update: Noran tells me I'm a piece of moldable clay... ;-)

I do like to experiment... and this blog is one huge experiment, just to see what the heck happens. I've learned a lot because of it.

#1 - Blog Mechanics and Physics (Rank)

I've learned that my blog has about 10 visitors per day if I'm careful and exclude myself. This number seems to have absolutely no correlation to Technorati's ranking. I had expected them to be somewhat inversely proportional from the ClueTrain and LongTail theories.

Using Sitemeter, I'm now learning that people hit this blog from 2 sources:
  • When I happen to say something that results in a link from an "A lister"
  • When someone does a Google search and matches something I've written about
#2 - Attention

Occasionally someone will read something on one of my pages that actually causes them to want to read more... at this point I've actually gained some attention which is the hot commodity in the blog-o-sphere.

I'd estimate that perhaps 1 to as many as 10 page reads per day are due to actual interesting material. This is sufficient interest to me to warrant further writing and posting, and perhaps even finding a better blogging software to support categories, which would make it easier to discover my other "valuable" (ha!) "content" (aka stuff or miscellaneous scribblings)

Now, I'm fairly certain that at this point I have only two regular readers... myself and my lovely wife, Noran. I doubt that Doc, Dave, or anyone else actually reads this blog on a regular basis. I'm too sporadic in posting to meet the implied social contract of the blog-o-sphere... one post per day, minimum, no exceptions.

#3 - Editing - as process

My actual flow in building a post is:
  • Somebody says something I want to comment about
  • Start up a blog comment
  • Start putting together content, with links, etc...
  • reconsider what I'm saying
  • extract redundant stuff, crap, and unneccessary flamebait
  • read it out loud (if circumstances permit)
  • edit some more
  • post it
  • ping the original sources (put comments on their sites)

I worry I don't spend enough time editing, but the limited feedback from Doc tells me I'm ok blatering a bit... could it be Doc is wrong?

#4 What Doc Searls means to me

Sidenote: Like Dave, I really like Doc. One day I hope to meet him. It was weird hearing his voice on a podcast though... I expected him to be someone who listens, thinks a minute, then gives a slowly paced, very wise answer... he talks wayyyy faster than that.

Doc's got a lot of oars in the water (or so it seems to me)... and our agendas aren't always in sync. When Doc links to me, I get a big spike, usually only to the page directly linked, which I've learned to expect.

Doc always picks something I wouldn't ever expect out of what I write. I spend too much time trying to be clever at times... or is that just self doubt?

Anyway, Doc is an editor by trade, and serves as my editor on occasion, which I think is a valuable service to me and the community as a whole.

#5 - oh... back to beliefs, and how they change.

Dave and others offer a refreshing view of the world. I wouldn't have found Dave except as a result of my interaction with the blog-o-sphere... and I'm glad I found him.

I now spend a ton less time trying to be in the first 100 posts on slashdot, and spend about the same amount of time, overall, here on this blog. I'm finding it to be a worthwhile trade for me.

I find myself open to more views, and also more careful about how and what I say. I think this will have an overall positive effect on me in the long run.

I believe that while bloggers are good at smoking out lies, they can't do the job alone. I know there are a lot of good people doing a lot of work, and getting even a small group going consistently in the same general direction can be a very potent force.

back to blogging and beliefs... Again!

Companies need to fear us, the Cluetrain is dead on accurate about that. Bloggers are reactionary, and like to pile on to a story, it's human nature. I'm not sure that there is much real power in the blog-o-sphere... but we all like to think there is... the jury (for me) is still out on this one.

It takes a work and especially intention to get results that matter. Finding our voices, and learning to direct them for good is a long term challenge. The cluetrain is a visionary statement, that many of us want to be true. If we work hard, some of it will come true, but of course reality is always different that what we expect.

I've written a lot about this, but no hard evidence, only my gut feelings on it... I hope that's enough Dave.

--Mike--

1 comment:

genevieve tucker said...

One concern I am having at present is the sheer North Americanness of all things bloggy - while it has really opened my eyes as an Aussie to what a bright, kind and encouraging bunch you are, I worry a bit about the profile of blogging globally. For example, Sifry's recent State of the Blogosphere report - there is no report by country.
Australian blogging is a peculiar animal and has its own problems, particularly regarding things like literature, or old-fashioned political divisions. One would consider it almost a backward space, however there's a refreshing no-nonsense aspect to some of it that is interesting too.

Uptake is slow and dictated fairly exclusively by the slow spread of broadband across the nation. I'm sure other countries have issues too that affect any blogging stats they might produce.

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