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It is hard to believe that I have been blogging for four years today at around 3:00 P.M.
So much has happened in those four years of blogging – the many blogs that I have started, written posts at and then stopped using that blog for various reasons. The blog you are reading “One Foot In Reality” has been my most successful blog in terms of pageviews, but my first one – “My Thoughts” is still probably my favorite blog.
So what was my first post? Here is a link to it if you are interested. It was very simplistic, hell it didn’t even have a title and shows just how little I knew and how overwhelming all these so-called Web2.0 tools were to this then newbie.
While I don’t consider myself an expert blogger by any stretch of the imagination, but I believe that I have gained a little “sand in my pants” since October 21, 2007.
What are some of the things that I have learned over the past four years?
1. You own what you write.
That should be pretty obvious, but so many forget that basic tenant about writing on the Internet. When you go off on a rant or bitch about something, disclose something about yourself, your work, your boss or whatever you choose to write about – you own it and the consequences both good and bad for having written in a space where others can read it and what you have written is there forever.
If you don’t want someone or everyone to read what you have written then don’t put it on the Internet – especially in a public blog. The chances are that those you don’t want to read it will read it.
Discretion can be very important when blogging.
2. Write for yourself.
You and I know that there are ways to write to increase your stats, popularity, make more money or whatever goals you have for your blog. However, when you write this way does it feed your soul? Do YOU shine through in your writing? Are you happy with what you write about? If not what can you do about it?
Think about why you blog and have some fun while you are doing it – yes money makes the world go round, but it always doesn’t make you happy. We all have to make a living, but is how or what you are writing about the right way? Blogging is not a get rich scheme, even though many try to sell something to make you think that it is.
The bottom line is writing a monetarily successful blog is a lot of hard work and takes time to do.
3. Make your blog yours.
Is your blog a reflection of who you are? Don’t go with a formula or just because so and so does it or says this is the way to create a successful blog. If you are not happy with the look or theme change it, if you don’t like the direction you are headed change it.
The “experts” all have plans and ideas for your blog to make it better (some of them actually do), but there are times when you need to change things to the way you like it or your blog will not last, because it no longer reflects who you are and you will stop blogging there.
4. Blogging should be fun or interesting
for you to write and for your intended readers to readers to read. If it isn’t take a look at numbers 2 and 3 again.
If writing for you blog stops being fun or interesting for you then you are doing something wrong.
5. Just because you can write it, doesn’t mean that you should.
If what you write is going to hurt someone, what is your reason? To expose a great wrong, to put the truth as you know it out there, these may be good reasons, but is it worth the pain you are causing for someone else, to increase your blog’s readership or are you just being an asshole because you can be. Don’t talk to me about “journalistic integrity”, “I didn’t know that would happen – wink, wink” or that “well if I don’t do it someone else will”.
Those are 9 times out of 10 bullshit and are excuses that too many bloggers use to justify their intent to purposely hurt someone else needlessly. If causing someone else pain is your objective or what you do for fun, you are an asshole.
Think about why you are writing a post and how what you are writing will affect those you are writing about before you publish it.
Yes I have made mistakes.
Over the past four years have I made mistakes blogging – absolutely positively! The biggest one is bouncing around from blog to blog and host to host. Just about the time I get a good readership going it seems as though I self-sabotage my blog’s success and move somewhere else. I have made several others in 1-4 above, but I never purposely hurt someone else, so I believe that I have avoided purposely being an asshole while blogging, which I consider being part of being a successful blogger.
What to expect in the future?
I am trying really hard to stop bouncing around from blog to blog or host to host and hope over the next year or so to be more stable about where I am blogging. I plan for it to be right here on “One Foot In Reality”.
It is also time to become more consistent in both my voice and location to see if I can improve my readership and readability. Now that I am not an educator, I believe that more of my own voice will come out in my writing, instead of always self-censoring what or how I wrote. As a teacher or public employee whether you like to admit it or not, you are held to a different standard than others are, so the self-censoring was something that I felt it was something necessary to do over the past four years.
Also if you have been around my blog for any length of time you will see that I tend to change the themes far too often. Guilty as charged and that is just one of the peculiarities about me that if you remain a reader will probably continue to happen – hopefully less than in the past as I try to write more and better posts.
I do like to experiment and I have not found the perfect blog theme to date. Also by doing these blog theme changes and experiments, I have learned more than I ever thought I would about coding – even though I need to learn a lot more than to be anything more than dangerous.
The reality is that
blogging has allowed me to meet (electronically and face-to-face) many different people, be exposed to ideas from all ends of the spectrum and the world, without the filters that you get from the main stream media or governments and gave me a journal of my thoughts over the course of these four years.
Thank you Richard for being my friend and showing me what a successful blog can be, I live vicariously through your success at Free Technology for Teachers and dream about what could have been – if only…the most powerful words that I know – if only.
There are many other bloggers out there who have influenced me a great deal and taught me how to make my blog a better blog and helped me to be a better writer/blogger and to them I say thank you.
Over the past four years I have created some good blog posts during that time and I have written some real bombs. Some of my ideas for new blogs were really good and I should have kept using them and others I am glad that I discarded them. Like they say it takes a lot of trial and error to create something good and needless to say I have done a lot of both in the past four years.
I have read fantastic blog posts, drooled over great themes and anguished over rants and tantrums by other bloggers who I believe had their head up their asses. However, I wouldn’t stop reading the spectrum of blogs that I have will continue to read, it gives me a view of the world that I would not have otherwise.
Now it is time to put some of the lessons that I have learned to good use and become a better blogger in the future. I wonder how it will go and what the changes will be, that I will make to become a better blogger. Those posts are yet to be written.
I wonder what changes the next year will bring and how my decision to delete Facebook and embrace Google+ will play out? I believe it will be a very good year.