Mon, July 11, 2016

It’s Just a Blog…Right?

During our regular monthly team meeting my boss asked if any of us would like to write a blog. Me, being the one always seeking approval and attention, quickly volunteered. “It’ll be easy”, I said. “No problem. I got this.” I had several ideas all at once. My boss gave me 30 days to write the blog. I was sure I would have it done long before that. I mean, how hard could it be?!? It’s just a blog right??? I’ve stated my opinion countless times on FaceBook. What I found out is, writing a blog isn’t easy at all. Sure, you can just throw some words at the page and call it a blog. But true blogging takes skills. I realized that I may have stuck my foot in the pile once again…I’ll let you be the judge of that.

First I think I need to define what a blog is. I believe I know but it’s best to have the facts. The Definition of a blog is:

noun

  1. a website containing a writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other websites.
  2. a single entry or post on such a website:

She regularly contributes a blog to the magazine’s website.

verb (used without object): blogged, blogging.

  1. to maintain or add new entries to a blog.

verb (used with object): blogged, blogging.

  1. to express or write about on a blog:

She’s been blogging her illness for almost a year.

Well, I guess that clears everything up. By definition a blog and or blogging is arbitrary and can encompass lots of things. Now I’m wondering where in the world did the term “Blog” come from anyway? Well thanks to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog I have answer:

The term “weblog” was coined by Jorn Barger[9] on 17 December 1997. The short form, “blog”, was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog Peterme.com in April or May 1999.[10][11][12] Shortly thereafter,?Evan Williams at Pyra Labs used “blog” as both a noun and verb (“to blog”, meaning “to edit one’s weblog or to post to one’s weblog”) and devised the term “blogger” in connection with Pyra Labs’ Blogger product, leading to the popularization of the terms.

Now that I know all of that, I can get started!

Subject matter seemed to be the natural place to start. But that’s like saying “Pick a grain of sand and make it unique”. My boss said I could write about anything. Anything! That’s a lot of food for thought. There are blogs about everything imaginable. Everything from “Why the Earth Really Is Flat”, to “Energy from Thorium”. I thought I had subject matter taken care of but self-doubt crept in and all of a sudden I found myself overwhelmed with the possibilities. I soldiered through and wrote a few different things but it just didn’t seem to be working for me. Then, all at once, it came to me. Blog about writing blogs! Why not? It’s probably been done and by better writers, but hey, it’s just a blog! So the fact finding began.

     Did you know, according to http://www.worldometers.info/blogs/,  there are over 5 million blog posts every day? That’s crazy! What may be really crazy is, I expect people to read my one little blog out of the millions available. Why would anybody read it? When it comes to blogging, that seems to be the real question. What would make someone want to read a particular blog?

People read blogs for various reasons. However, entertainment seems to be the main reason. I read a lot of things on how to do certain tasks, but mostly those aren’t considered blogs. Blogs by definition are updated on some regular basis and are normally short. The person who writes how to articles usually has a link to their blog. The site mentioned above and others like it are a great place to start when it comes to finding out about blogs but those sites seem more concerned with the mechanics and trends than I am. Established bloggers may benefit from hard data but I needed something different. I needed to find out what makes a blog worth reading. Then I remembered an episode of some TV sitcom were the new CEO made a comment about branding. I couldn’t remember exactly but he made the point that branding, networking, and promotions would sell anything. So, maybe it’s not the blog but the blogger. So I started down the path of personal branding in the blogging world. I gotta tell you, this blogging stuff is exhausting!

Trying to be a blogger isn’t much different than trying to be a rock star. Can you believe that many bloggers have agents, publicists, and managers? Branding is a fulltime job. All I’m trying to do is write a blog. There are as many bloggers as there are blogs. And different kinds of bloggers. You could be a single-subject blogger or a multi-subject blogger. Some blogs are written by experts in their given fields and the subject matter reflects this. Many, and I mean many, other blogs are just the opinion of the blogger. I would fall into the blogger-with-an-opinion category. Oh Lord, my head is starting to spin. The site http://lifehacker.com/can-i-really-make-a-living-by-blogging-1537783554 explains it all very well. I realize I’m not trying to be a professional blogger but in order for me to understand how to write a decent blog, I felt the need to understand those who do it and why someone would read it.

I never did find the golden answer to blogs and or blogging but simply saying “It’s just a blog right?” is the understatement of the century. Not only is it difficult in oh so many ways, it’s hard work. This may not be my first blog, but it is the first one that I’ve done at someone else’s request. That kind of changed the game a bit. I have new found appreciation and respect for people who write blogs for a living. Having looked at the data and read the opinions, blogging is more, much more than throwing a handful of words at a page and telling all your friends you started a blog. I could go on forever about the subject, but then this would turn into an article not a blog. It all boils down to one short and simple statement…”No, It’s not just a blog!”.

-Jonathan E. Delph 2016