As a personal stand I prefer to read blogs in which the blogger does not fin their identity. Though I understand why some people want to or have to blog anonymously those types of blogs usually don’t interest me. Most of the blogs I read are either food, mommy/nanny, or the occasional beauty blog and so there is no reason for anonymity. I like these kinds of blogs because you can still get a taste of who the person really is while having a face or name to link it to. I tend to wonder is a blogger is anonymous if they are really speaking their mind or if they are creating a whole new identity. I do understand the need for anonymity if you are living in a country unlike ours but if you are here I feel like it could be different. I think that people should feel a responsibility for what they post whether it’s anonymous or not, and I don’t feel like many anonymous bloggers in our country at least feel that. It is because of the sense of responsibility of attaching your name to it that I for the most part read blogs where the writers identity is known.
Sometimes it can be extremely difficult to publicize your own blogs to increase readership. That’s where the power of guest blogging really shines. Not only can it introduce a new perspective and a deviation from your usual posts, but it can also help the guest blogger achieve more readership with their blogs. So it’s a win win right?
The Beginners Guide to Guest Blogging offers a lot of great tips on guest blogging when it comes to doing your research, giving your pitch, and writing your post. I immediately noticed that one of the really big concepts this article kept bringing up was the thought process. You really can’t dive into guest blogging and recklessly try and throw yourself out there. Some of the big tips the author generally involve taking things one step at a time and thinking things through. One excellent point I noticed was his idea to put yourself in the receivers shoes. As the receiver of a blog, you wouldn’t want a guest blog post whose pitch is very sloppy, and or time consuming to read/understand. Therefore, if you can think what the blogger would like to see in a guest blog request email, your pitch will definitely be greatly enhanced.
Some of the key tips that really stood out to me for these emails include
- Being clean and proofread (not sloppy and lazy!)
- Referencing something on their blog to show you have an interest and took the time to read their blog
- Being patient and not coming off as too aggressive or desperate
Overall, you really just have to think things through and take your time because after all you are the guest and the blogger isn’t 100% inclined to allow just anybody to guest post on their blogs, so make sure you really give it your all.
The next article, 7 Essential Ingredients For A Successful Collaborative Blog, really hammers down on the keys for unlocking the door to a great collaborative blog.
A collaborative blog involves multiple authors all working together and contributing to the posts and maintenance of the blog. One of the biggest aspects that popped out to me from the 7 tips is the teamwork aspect. It’s really crucial whenever you have a team that you set yourselves a goal, and all work together to achieve that set goal. This involves equal distribution of work, strong communication, a variety of talents you can bring to the table, etc… You can all be great individual bloggers; but at the end of the day, for a collaborative blog to be successful, you need to have the teamwork aspect.
I also really liked the 7th tip they gave, which was to have fun into the mix. This really applies to all of our blogs whether it be collaborative or non collaborative. We need to have passion and enjoy the posts that we take the time to create everyday or every week. If blogging starts to become more of a chore than an enjoyable experience for you, make sure you take your blog into the right direction where your passion truly lies.
After reading the article on how to stay motivated for long term blogging a few of the suggestions that stood out to me were: responding to comments, encouraging my friends and family to share my posts, creating a blog ritual, using an editorial calender, troll Pinterest for new ideas, and use questions that appear in the comments as content for a new post.
Through all the research I have done for my research paper for this class a common thread I have seen is that responding to comments correlates directly with success of the blog, and success of blog encourages motivation. My plan is to take time each week to respond to comments that have come in, with more than a simple “thanks” but with actual content that will encourage a relationship with the reader.
My friends and family have a wide reach on social media and if I were to ask them to help me share and get my blog out there I’m sure they would be only too happy to help me out. Those of my friends and family who have read it have really enjoyed it but I don’t think they understand how help a share would be. By explaining to them how important a share is I think I will be able to get more traffic ad encouragement from my friends and family.
As a writer I know how important creating a writing or blogging ritual is. As of yet I haven’t been able to pin down a specific ritual, but over these next few weeks i am going to work on pinning down my ritual and so that when I do sit down to blog my mind is already in it and I don’t need to waste my time getting into it.
The editorial calender I set up a few weeks ago has been so incredibly helpful. Therefore going forward I am going to keep up the editorial calender so that there is no guess work as to what and when I should be writing.
My blog is heavily influenced by Pinterest and so keeping up with new crafts, snacks, and activities on Pinterest will be important for me to do. It is a way for me to find new ideas, rediscover old ones I forgot about, and become inspired to make up my own. Pinterest is a resource that never seems to run dry of inspiration and motvation for me.
Finally I think once i have cultivated a larger following and people are asking me questions responding to those questions in a post will be a helpful way for me to stay motivated and encourage readership. Creating post like this will encourage me to stay connected with my readers and build the relationship between the readers and myself.
The World Wide Web is an ever-growing platform with media that is both old and new. We might like to think of the Internet as a linear sequence displaying content in chronological order of when it was uploaded; however, that is rarely how it works.
Take Google, for example. When visiting Google.com and entering keywords to search, do you expect the first listing to be the newest content on that topic or the page most relevant to what you searched? Google aims to do the latter. Google uses a series of complex algorithms to determine which content is worthy of being reused/recycled.
Likewise, Facebook does something similar. Users will oftentimes find their account settings defaulted to “most popular,” instead of “most recent.” On the “most popular” setting, the posts displayed at the top of a user’s feed will be the content that is attracting the most activity among their friend group.
We see in the article Life as Instant Replay, Over and Over Again, that media does not go away. If something is popular, it will stay in a place where it has the best chance of staying popular. If you’re on Facebook, this could mean at the top of everyone’s feeds. If you’re on Yahoo, it may be “featured” or promoted to a space place where it is likely to be noticed. Even WordPress has a way of doing this – a page called Freshly Pressed.
The author discusses the “replay Web” and how it’s a never-ending cycle of content being published before our very eyes. While I see the development of the replay Web in the ways discussed, I’d still argue that there’s a way around it. By searching something and going to page 20 of Google instead of opening up Twitter, you can still discover content that isn’t connecting you back to a large network of consumers. But I suppose that takes extra effort and is perhaps unrealistic when analyzing the nature of the Web in 2014.
Another interesting point that was discussed is how old content sometimes makes a comeback. Something that was posted long ago that got little attention may be edited or rediscovered and gain significant popularity years later. We see this happen a lot with viral videos.
This is actually something I have observed with my own blog. Back in July, I wrote a blog post titled: The Story of the Haunted Winchester Mystery House. At the time, it got very little attention. Interesting enough, the post has been getting more traffic than usual this month. I believe this is most likely because it’s getting closer and closer to Halloween so people are now seeking this type of content. I was surprised because I had actually forgotten about this post but sure enough, it reappeared when the time was right.
In this day and age, people essentially determine what everyone else can consume. Each time we tweet, share, or re-blog an article, we are putting it right in front of the people we have connections with. If the post is good enough, those people will continue the process by sharing it again. Through this chain, the best and most important media makes it out on top while everything else fades away in the background.
In Jeff Howe’s article, The Rise of Crowdsourcing, I found two points that I feel speak very clearly to how we see and use the internet and blogging today. But before I talk about those two points I want to flesh out what crowdsourcing is. According the Howe crowdsourcing is using the internet to access the ideas and content of other people. This picture I felt did a good job of defining crowdsourcing as well.
The first point that I felt stood out in Howe’s article was about the viral video. As a culture we currently seemed to be obsessed with viral videos. As Howe says in the article there are many T.V. shows dedicated to viral videos, “Bravo launched a series called Outrageous and Contagious: Viral Videos, and USA Network has a similar effort in the works. The E! series The Soup has a segment called “Cybersmack,” and NBC has a pilot in development hosted by Carson Daly called Carson Daly’s Cyberhood, which will attempt to bring beer-drinking farm animals to the much larger audiences of network TV. Al Gore’s Current TV is placing the most faith in the model.” Everyone seems to be interested in the latest funny/cute/stupid video that has been posted to the web. And not only are there T.V. shows dedicated to this stuff but sites like youtube and buzzfeed are filled with senseless/funny videos and receive a lot of traffic for said videos. For bloggers I believe this obsession can be useful in that if a blogger can find a way to incorporate a video that either is or they think will go viral they can increase traffic to their site. Bloggers can also crowdsource in that they can find out what their readers and readers of other blogs what to read about and provide it for them. Asking the simple question to your readers “What do you want to hear from me?” and then reading the responses is crowdsourcing because you are taking information from your readers that you didn’t previously have.
The second point that I found important about crowdsourcing is that people like agents, of all types, and other influential business people are now crowdsourcing. “Not everyone in the crowd wants to make silly videos. Some have the kind of scientific talent and expertise that corporate America is now finding a way to tap.” I know at this point in the article Howe was referring to scientific crowdsourcing but when I read this I immediately thought of musical artists like Karmin who started as a youtube channel and now have a record deal. If you don’t know who Karmin are look at the video below. Bloggers have been doing the same thing. Earlier today I read an article by Jeff Goins on how to get a book deal through blogging. So now, that crowdsourcing is a valuable tool, the important thing for bloggers to do is to create content that is worth someone’s time to find. Crowdsourcing can be an extremely profitable enterprise and being able to tap into that as bloggers I believe is going to be a huge help.
When it comes to blogging, there’s a limitless amount of possibilities for each blog post. When looking at different technology-related blogs that discuss the iPhone 6, it’s immediately evident that there are different styles used when approaching the topic.
One blogger named Hayley Tsukayama from The Washington Post began her blog post with an image. No text had been typed until after the image was presented. From there, she writes in a series of short blurbs. She also embeds a video. The article is titled, “No, you probably can’t bend the iPhone 6 Plus. Unless you’re a bodybuilder.” Her post addresses the issue of the phone’s over-flexibility problem. All of her text is formatted in a large font that is easy to read.
A TechRadar blogger wrote up a blog post about the iPhone 6 that takes more of a review-like approach. The post is split up into sections with gaps in between. In “iPhone Review: bigger, better, sleeker, faster,” the phone is evaluated on a series of characteristics. It’s analyzed and critiqued from a professionals point of view but formatted in such a way that would appeal to the general consumer. There are a lot of photos! It’s almost like a photo gallery for the new iPhone 6.
Then there is Susie’s personal blog, Susie’s Musings. On her blog, she writes about her experience buying the iPhone 6 and setting it all up. Personally, I prefer these types of blog posts. Her post features text that is short and easy to read, photos that she took, and lots of emoji’s within the text that add emotion and are typically excluded from more professional blogs. I think they add something to a blogger’s writing though. I like Susie’s post and appreciate the way she went about formatting it.
Marshall McLuhan, writing from the 1960s, is looking at the typewriter as a new form of technology. Until this point, I assume, people have been handwriting letters. McLuhan analyzes this new way of communicating, its effects on society, and most importantly, how it changed writing. We can probably relate to this when we think about our studying techniques. Some people feel the need to write things down in order to fully understand their text. Others find it easier to type things out as quickly as their train of thought. For instance, on a personal note, I was never able to keep a journal. Writing by hand is too slow for my thoughts, and honestly wears out my hand. As a child, I always wanted to keep a journal, but never pushed on with it. However, typing out entries and being able to archive them was much more appealing to me. I can type almost as fast as I can think, and I can then alter my words accordingly. Meanwhile, some may enjoy the converse, gathering their thoughts and manually writing them out. McLuhan points out in his essay that the experience of writing changes what is being written and, moreover, how it is read.
Typewriting changed the way people wrote and how they read it. After the dawn of typewriting, handwriting became a personal gesture. It is now more often used to instill some sort of intimate emotion, such as love or sympathy. These messages are usually associated with the respect of taking time to send the message. Professional messages are sent in type for a legible, less personal intent. For instance, letters between coworkers are usually to exchange information rather than express emotion. Furthermore, typing messages allows for the use of bold, italics, and other forms of typography add emphasis to messages. These allow the reader to get a larger sense of how the writer i trying to speak. Prior to this, words were specific and made of most of the writer’s power in their voice. The picture I provided is a great example of how writing can solely depend on diction.
The typewriter, of course, changes this method. The evolution of the typewriter (in the form of computers) introduces writers to typography, various fonts, and spacing. McLuhan makes an interesting reference to one of E.E. Cummings’s poems, in which Cummings uses the typewriter to stress and pace words the way he wants it to be read.
The dawn of blogging has changed writing similarly to typewriting. We, as bloggers have to figure out reach our audience on a personal/emotional level without handwriting our posts. We now have the opportunity to incorporate pictures, videos, and other media to our posts in order to emphasize. We can tag and archive our work, and we can easily proofread and alter our thoughts after we’ve posted. The way we write is constantly developing, and as we advance in our communication, I think this reading highlights the importance of the pure context of words.