When you start blogging, you usually do it for one of two reasons – you have something to say and want to share it, or you read other blogs and enjoy how they can be used for growing a brand; a business; a mindset; and more.
Often these two criss-cross with each other. Other times they’ll work alongside other goals – to sell products and services; to act as a lead generation platform for your business; or to be a place where your “business voice” can be relaxed, and you can be just another person.
Because of this, blogging is one of the longest-running and most popular forms of social media (regardless of what the Twitter and Facebook faithful would have you believe).
Of course, the problem with any form of popularity is that it can often be connected to banality and sameness.
Longevity and The Power of Oomph
When I first started blogging – oooh, many years ago – the landscape was very different.
Bloggers were viewed as quirks of nature, and/or frustrated writers. Yet some of the best writing around was being published, since the attention span didn’t have to be geared towards 140-characters or compete with a thousand social networks. Because of this longer attention span, the quality over quantity issue was never in doubt.
Now, though, as many bloggers look to grab book deals and be seen as the go-to-guy for sponsored posts and brand advertisements, a lot of blogs have become part of the sameness malaise. Honest viewpoints are being diluted and replaced by points of view that are geared towards satisfying the masses, as opposed to being a strong opinion that cuts through hype and spin.
Bloggers that were very different ten, five and even just one year ago are now rehashing the thoughts of others, or offering lazy posts knowing that the title and pop culture content will attract the social shares that makes the blogger seem important.
Plus ça change.
Newness and Introspect
Thankfully, there are some great voices around that are countering this blandness.
Folks like Geoff Livingston, Olivier Blanchard, Dan Perez, Gini Dietrich, Marcus Sheridan, Ingrid Abboud, Joey Strawn, Dino Dogan, Jk Allen, Mark Harai and Srinivas Rao are writing some of the best blog posts on the web today. And there are many more like them.
They write from the heart, and they write non-fluff viewpoints that can often make you feel both uncomfortable and wanting to shout a “Hell yeah!” in equal measure. And to me, that’s what great blogging is all about.
It’s bloggers like the ones mentioned above, and those who I’ve watched turn from great to good to meh, that’s made me think about this blog in the last few weeks.
While a large part of this blog is steeped in social media and how it can be used in the bigger picture (personally or from a business point of view), at heart I’m a storyteller (or at least that’s my goal). I like the human angles of social media, and how it can play a big part in shaping people’s lives. It’s one of the reasons behind the tagline of the blog.
But, to a degree, there’s only so much you can say about social media before it just blends into all the other social media blogs that are out there. Some are good; others, not so much.
And, while it might be nice to have tens of thousands of subscribers – and it’d be fairly easy to attain this with popular and continuous Top 10 or List posts – that’s never been a goal here. I’d rather have the involved community that’s here as opposed to ten times the subscribers but a less questioning community.
So. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be doing a lot of thinking about how this blog continues. Like I say, I’m big on human stories and storytelling in general (something that an imminent ebook will probably show). Social media is just one part of how people use the web – and I’m more interested in the people than the tools.
I thank you for being with me so far; and here’s to you still being interested enough to continue as I look to really define this blog’s position. Here’s to moving forward.