Blogs that Lose Direction and Go from Blog to Blah?
Neil Perlin delivered a cool presentation to our chapter tonight on Web 2.0. After the meeting, we all (that is, Mark Hanigan, Karen Bachman, Clyde Parson, Charles Arnold, Lisa Carpenter, Michael Pleasant, Neil Perlin, and I) went out to eat at Bahama Breeze.
In his presentation, Neil mentioned that he was going to start learning about WordPress. This of course caught my attention. It turns out Neil is going to start not only a blog, but also a podcast and a videoblog. He's not just dipping his toes into social software; he's diving in headfirst and swimming into the deep end.
Last year when Neil presented to our chapter, he wasn't quite sold on blogs yet (at least not on starting his own). So I asked him what changed his mind. He said three reasons. First, he's been thinking of doing it for a long time now, and he hit a critical point where he decided to stop thinking and just do it.
Second, he said the blog would provide him a way of getting conceptual and technical information to clients and others. Rather than having to e-mail the same information over and over, you can write about it once on your blog and then reference specific posts when future questions address the same topics (for example, "What is XHTML vs. XML?").
Third, he said that he's been wary of blogs that begin well, but quickly run out of steam, move into different directions than the original intention, and then become diluted, dull, and fluffy. He cited an example of a friend he knows near Israel who started a blog when missiles were landing near her house daily, and people kept emailing her to ask if she was okay. For a while her blog was popular and the posts interesting, but as the missiles subsided, her blog began to be diluted and she started blogging about all kinds of topics. It turned from blog to blah. Neil was concerned about this same phenomenon happening to him.
So Neil has decided to post once a week or so. It will be interesting to see what he writes about. I recommended that he post daily, and said doing so will change his experience of blogging entirely. He thought that was a little insane.
I've found that blogs are really networked conversations. Reading a blog spawns an idea for a post on your blog, which then gives way to someone else's blog post, which in turn you read and get new ideas to think/write about on your blog.
When you link to other blogs, they become hyperaware of each other because you see incoming links in your dashboard. I might graphically represent the blogosphere as a brain — a set of neural synapses hooked into each other.
Is that a cool pic of a brain or what!
About Tom Johnson
I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.