At Northern Voice I had the opportunity to meet A-List blogger Robert Scoble. I was admittedly a bit awestruck in his presence, but he was very down to earth and approachable. He actually stopped everything he was doing and gave me his complete attention during our conversation, which made me feel that he was interested in what I had to say. I was impressed, and realized that these big name bloggers are people too. Good people. But it was really exciting to speak to him nonetheless.
We talked about the success of his blog and how gaining popularity has made it more challenging to him to be a blogger, and I was intrigued. He told me his blog has shifted from him playing around with techy stuff to him talking about other people’s usage and development of technology. I asked him “doesn’t it become easier to blog as more and more people become interested in what you have to say? You certainly would have a lot more influence.” And he corrected me.
“No. This is not CNN.” He reminded me that blogging is not a top down delivery of information. It is a conversation. As more and more people read a blog, it becomes increasingly challenging to have one-on-one relationships with them all. It’s actually impossible.
At the conference Darren Barefoot led a session titled “why do you blog?” My honest answer to that question was “I blog because I want people to read my blog” and my logic there was obviously backwards, flawed, and insane. I came to a very important realization:
- Blogging is not about me, and it’s not about you either. Blogging is about engaging with each other.
The evolving web is a continuous learning experience and blogging has given me the opportunity to learn many things – experientially. This real life, real time application is the common thread that ties all of my blogs together. It doesn’t matter how many people read my blog. It matters that I’m doing something productive, engaging people, and being a part of the community.
The Internet gets a lot of criticism for isolating people. Technology is supposedly rifting society apart. I beg to differ. Blogging is bringing us together. At Northern Voice a team of volunteers organized a conference that gave me and 300 other people the opportunity to meet face to face. It’s a growing community, and I am very excited to be a part of it.
My good friend Trenton left these words in my comments:
I don’t really see the point in setting out to become an A-list blogger and I’m sure the Mark Cubans and Robert Scobles didn’t intend on this at all. They simply provided interesting content that proved to be worthwhile to a large body of people. If you do the same then I’m sure there will be people out there who will want to read it. However, if you simply get caught up in your own agenda of internet stardom then you’ll end up creating trivial content and losing sight of the entire purpose of blogging. Worst case scenario? Everyone stops reading your blog.
IMHO, if you want to be a good blogger you should blog for the sake of blogging and b/c you really love it. Write about whatever you’re passionate about. Forget about the celebrity (at least for now) and try and write the best, most interesting stuff for the people that do read your blog.
Thank you Trenton for that stark description of what I unintentionally had become. And thank you, Robert. You catalyzed my acceptance of that and have enabled me to move on.