One of the reasons I fell in love with blogging as a medium in 2005, is that it felt free of rules. It was a space to express whatever I thought in whatever way I wanted. And it was about connection. Real connection. And community. Not about people as numbers, or demographic characteristics in Google Analytics.
“I became close to six women in particular, and after months of connecting via our blogs, email, and the occasional transatlantic phone call, we hatched a plan to spend a weekend in Seattle. The trip was a significant milestone in my recovery—my first visit to the United States, the first time I was meeting these women, and my first big adventure after eighteen months of grieving. . . . The trip proved to be life-changing, from forging friendships for life to opening my eyes to the world around me.“
Without talking with Susannah, I’m going to guess that SEO, word count, strategy, metrics, snappy titles, etc. didn’t bring them together. It was the content they shared and how the medium connected them.
One of my favorite panels at a BlogHer conference 7 or 8 years ago was about small blogs. All of the panelists’ blogs had a modest readership, but a tremendous community. The panelists weren’t there to talk about how to build their list. They were there to share stories about their readers and how they’d changed each other’s lives.
Blogging has exploded since then and our attention spans are now scattered across a multitude of devices and social media platforms. It takes more effort to be seen and heard. Blogging best practices can help cut through the noise and I will continue to teach them, but does the world need more “perfect” blogs built only on these best practices?
I don’t think so.
The world needs personal and business blogs that are honest, helpful, and real. Blogs that connect people and build community not for the numbers, but for the people who read them.
It’s time to take back what I think is the true essence of blogging: freedom of expression and community.
So, if you’ve abandoned your blog, or have been thinking of starting one, but keep stopping yourself because it seems overwhelming, try again. Set all of the blogging rules aside and just start writing and connecting. Comment on other people’s blogs. Link to them. Email the writers to say, “Hello!”
You’re not blogging to be a bullhorn. You’re writing for/in/on a web, which is by definition a network of things that are interconnected and woven together.
Let’s start weaving again.
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