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Technology & InternetThe Case of the Lonely Blogger
Join the ranks, they said. Get yourself connected. Let the world take part in your miseries, successes, failures, and joys. Share your thoughts. Be modern, be open, help to create a better world. You deserve to be heard. You will become famous. Start a blog.
It sounded like a good idea at the time. So you began writing. You wrote multiple articles a day, then cut back to one a day (you just couldn’t think of so many things to write on any more).
Now, month later, you sitting there, in front of your computer, overfilled with joy. ‘Finally,’ you think. ‘Finally, the days of solitude are over.’ You just got your first comment on one of your articles.
Well, it wasn’t really the first one. You had loads of comments before – telling you (and the few readers that are reading your daily articles) to buy Viagra and lingerie, where to buy fake Rolexes and Gucci bags. You began with ignoring them. When you had more then ten of them a day, you installed spam filters.
But today is going to be different. You got a real comment, someone heard you, is answering your thoughts and telling you what he thinks on the subject.
‘Everything is going to change now’, you say to yourself. The despair, the solitude, the hours spent alone in your room, thinking about best ways to phrase a certain thought. Days spent on social networks, connecting to random people in the hope that someone might care what you think. It wasn’t all for nothing.
You lost friends for this dream of being heard. Real friends, not random connections. They went to parties, while you felt the urge to write. They had discussions, while you where shouting into the dark mass of people that simply wasn’t listening (it’s called the internet).
But now, there will be new friends – people that understand. Who talk to you in the only language that you now understand – the written word. You are determined to give power to your thoughts and bring your message to the people of the ever gigantic world wide web.
And, while you are now typing your thought into the comment box, answering the sole friend you have found after this long time on your own in this strange country, another thought begins to form in your head.
‘Was this worth the price I paid?’
the blog is just as much a public journal, tracking events and episodes to help you measure progress. Take a stand. Have an opinion. Define a solution. Solve the problem. Would you have held yourself accountable, if you didn't have a blog? And with Google analytics, subscriptions etc., of course you'll know if there's an audience. Or not. In the end, comments are nice, but sales are better. Just like the blog is "nice-to-have", your product or service is a "have-to-have".Reply
You are of course right. Your argument is basically the best I have heard as a reason for writing a blog these days.
You are saying a blog is a "nice-to-have". I couldn't agree more. The problem I have, is that a lot of people are saying a blog is a "have-to-have". Especially for small businesses. Maybe we should just return to nice-to-have, if you have the time to write it, if you have enough content, if you can reach your audience. There would be fewer frustrated bloggers and fewer frustrated readers being bombarded with meaningless content.
This article was not meant to stop people from blogging. Just a way of saying, that I can understand their frustration - and many bloggers are frustrated. I do believe, that they deserve better.Reply
I definitely agree with you that the blog can (and should) have a greater purpose than a public journal. It is a tool that, in theory, should be very useful to companies within the content marketing explosion.
What I think is fascinating about Jonathan's article is that he doesn't dispute the value of the content or advantage of content marketing. He merely says that a blog is a difficult space to have this writing seen; that the effort to maintain a blog, gain a readership (and sales) - often far outweighs the return. Why not take the information that would go in a post and up your chances for exposure by placing it on news aggregate? ...a site that allows you to publish in the form of an article within a network meant to connect?
Again, I completely see you point. Just something to think about :)
Isn't the first questions everybody thinking of building a blog these: whom am I writing for, where are they and what would they like to read?
No matter what I write a journal, industry information, or whatever - if I write for myself, who cares how many readers my blog has. If my intention is to make people interested in me, attract a bunch of people fro my target group, I have to figure out how to get them to read my blog - or I should not take the hassle of creating one.
Thanks for the story - gives a lot to think!Reply
Hi Christina, nice of you to give your thoughts.
If you write for yourself, you should also ask the question, why you are writing it online? Why are you writing a public diary, if you do not care if anyone reads it?
I do strongly believe, that most people writing a blog do want others to read it. And these masses of people are bound to be frustrated and most of them are going to give up before they ever reach a relevant amount of interested readers. And that really is a sad thing, because the idea, that anyone can write and reach other people, is still valid - there should be ways to achieve this.
There probably are - but first, we need to break from the idea that blogs are the holy grail of self-publication.Reply
Whether you like it or not, humans like most creatures have been programmed to communicate, the desire to communicate lives in the very fabric of our being. Even without a target audience we most times communicate with ourself. So the idea of blogging is more of thinking aloud, lucky you if your thoughts seems to hold the interest of followers or fans. In essence blogging,tweeting,facebook updates and every other outlet of our thoughts is our desire for communication......i know in the nearest future this same basic instinct for communication may drive us to seeking an audience even outside our workdReply
I agree! you're absolutely right, spammers is always there. I'm beginning to think about you're blog written. It's sounds familiar cause it was happening to me.Reply
The question this raises for me is, what's the fundamental difference between a blog and other content such as white papers, web pages, instructional videos, etc? If my goal is to distribute helpful information, then aren't these other formats more useful? If you don't have the capacity to blog, perhaps loading up your website with great resources is more useful? (Especially if your blog is organized by date and date alone, which is one of the most persistant mistakes on the web, in my opinion.)Reply