What I wish I'd known before I started blogging (@dougchaplin)

Everyone is different. There are bloggers who let it all hang out and others who are very private about themselves. There are those who blog anonymously because it lets them stay a little comically or ironically detached from what they say. Others who blog anonymously seem to do so because they can be really angry that way without having to take full responsibility for it. Some specialise in lengthy and reasoned arguments marked out in clear and elegant English. Others rant intemperately feeling that a strong expletive is more forceful than a good argument, and an insult is even better. Perhaps I read the wrong blogs, but this seems particularly the case with personal but partisan political blogs.

Despite the fact that everyone is different, I wish I’d spent a little more time looking at what was there and trying to work out what my own voice would be. I don’t think I’ve found one yet. And that’s the first thing I wish I’d done differently.

Read full entry. I love the way that Doug has used ‘Conversations’ rather than ‘Comments’, as that’s what they should really be (and as with all conversations, they don’t have to be profound thoughts, just an exchange of ideas big and small), and the conversation continues across on other blogs, including Lesley’s Blog, eChurch Blog, and Maggi Dawn.

The Church Mouse commented…

A few thoughts:

  1. Think about why you are blogging. Is it about personal expression or to achieve some particular purpose? Or something else. This will help refine the way you blog.
  2. Read lots of blogs and copy the things you like most from them. I read blogs for a long time before I started blogging, and it meant I came to it with some clear ideas.
  3. Do you want to keep track of the stats or not? If your blog is about personal expression or about staying in touch with a particular group, then don’t bother. The numbers can easily become an obsession which is not helpful. Of course, if you are trying to campaign for an issue or have another reason to want to get high levels of traffic, then it might be worth tracking the stats and seeing what drives them up and down.
  4. Find routines that make blogging a non-disruptive part of your life. Two dangers – start enthusiastically, then realise how much time it has taken up and give up; or neglect friends and family spending every spare moment hunched over a laptop. Neither are good for your general well-being.
  5. Find your online community and join in with it. Twitter in particular is a great way to hook into existing online communities, as are blog comments. Joining in with them will help connect you with others in the same sphere, and that community will likely end up being supportive in many ways.

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