Monday: 08.January.2007

Blogs & Blogging

I often get mail on the subject blogs and blogging, from readers interested in joining the fray. My thoughts:

I think *everybody* should contribute to the online collection of information we call the web, cuz everybody has an area of expertise, which can help those in need. It's good karma and we all reap what we sow.

But I advise against blogging primarily for profit, cuz you can never be sure that what you write will generate an audience, much less produce an income.

If you have a passion about a certain subject, and want to share what you've learned with others > great! But if you merely want to earn cash, there are usually better options.

today's entry continued here

Blogging can be divided into two parts: technical & personal. Writing about technical stuff needs to be done as if *everybody* were reading it. In other words, it needs to be well-researched, well-organized and well-written.

Blogging about personal things, on the other hand, needs to be written as if *nobody* were reading. In other words, you need to feel comfortable sharing your innermost feelings (brutal honesty)...

... which isn't easy, cuz not only will your friends be reading (who will naturally be supportive), but also your enemies (who can use what you write against you). That takes courage. (Yes, things I've posted here have shown up in court.)

Regarding blogging about technical subjects: technology these days is so cool that it's easy for people to get interested. Problem is, there are many people already writing about technology. The field is crowded. Your goal is to find the road less-traveled.

Your best strategy would be to find a niche (such as NightOwl's Guide to Creating Bootable CD/DVDs) and focus on that. NightOwl's guide does surprisingly well, even tho I originally advised against it, thinking he'd find little audience. (I was wrong.)

Blogging about personal things is more touch-n-go. The best personal blogs, I feel, are those written by people who are honest with themselves .. especially about their flaws & fears .. typically those who don't care what others think of them. (I still care, but not nearly as much as I used to.)

I write as a form of therapy, similar to writing in a journal (which I've done), or soaking in a hot-spring (which I've also done). Most of the site's income is generated by the technical articles (the guides, which contain many more pages), so the personal part is all gravy, and I can write about whatever I feel (uh, to a point).

I think it would be difficult to blog about personal things if your livelihood depended on it.

Also, I never write, just to write. Rather I wait until I have something meaningful to say. I'd rather say nothing, than waste my reader's time with empty words. I need to be able to feel what I write. The words need to flow. If I ever have to force them, it's not right and won't work. Normally I have more things to say that time to post them.

Lastly, hyperlinks are what make the 'Net so cool, and if a writer isn't peppering their text with a generous sprinkling, then they aren't taking advantage of blogging's coolest feature. Well-placed hyperlinks give an article depth and show an author has done his homework.

I liked blogging better when there wasn't a word for it .. cuz now you get lumped into a group and labeled. I've been doing this since before there was a word for it, and I much better enjoyed the idea of being a lone wolf. You won't find very many blogs which pre-date Radified.

The best bloggers (I feel) heed the advice of the ancients: Know Thyself, and are willing to share what they've found .. not only the good, but also the bad and the ugly (flaws and fears). I also enjoy reading blogs where I learn something new.

If I were gonna start a blog today, and had my own server, and wanted an easy installation, I'd use WordPress (free). If money were no object and I was not very technically oriented, and didn't have my own server, I'd use TypePad ($50 to $150 per year).

If I were a techie/geek, and enjoyed a challenging installation, and wanted to use the absolute *best* blogging software available on the planet, I'd use MovableType (which I decided upon).

The end. If you need more info on this subject, here's a Google search pre-configured for the query: blog+blogging





Posted by Rad at January 8, 2007 04:06 PM

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