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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A blog does not a blogger make.

Computerchick1A few weeks back MarketingProfs' Ann Handley found herself blog-less (tech upgrades were keeping her blog and she at a remove). Still managing to post she published a piece over at Logic + Emotion asking "can one still be a blogger, sans a blog?" While the question may have intended to be existential in nature, I've been more focused on the down-to-earth, literal implication as of late.

When you first launch a blog, you're so singularly focused on getting the darn thing locked and loaded that, sure, you're a "blogger". But not really. It's not until you start participating in other blogs--and the overall conversation--that you really matriculate to blogger.

Sure, I feel like I'm contributing through my posts and helping give voice to others through my interview series. But when do I feel most like a blogger? When I click the comment button on other sites.

I query many clients, colleagues and friends on why they're not joining the conversation. Their answers are varied, but the tie that binds all their excuses is daunt: daunted by a new medium, daunted by time pressures and daunted by launching and maintaining their own blogsite. When I explain they needn't launch their own blogs, just get involved in others blogs, a sigh of relief overcomes them. A barrier is broken. And often enough, a new blogger is born.

So yes, Ann, you can definitely be a blogger (verb) without a blog (noun). Given the choice, I'd prefer to see more bloggers than blogs. While you were blog-less for a bit, I appreciate the inspiration -- thanks Ann! (psst: her post is in two places, the original post here and another with many more blog-less comments here).

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I fully agree with CK. It was very helpful for me to start blogging by joining the conversation on other blogs. When I started posting my own musings at http://vineberg.blogspot.com (blatant self-promotion), I had already been published, so my confidence was high.

Hmm... maybe I'm a purist, but I still think a blogger is one who blogs. One who comments is a dutiful citizen of the blogosphere, but a comment does not a blogger make.

As vital as commenting is, it doesn't make you a blogger. Does writing a letter to a newspaper make you a journalist or participating in a radio phone-in make you a presenter?

Yes, someone in the comments box may be infinitely smarter and expand upon the original post so that it morphs into an entirely different beast.

But that is the beauty that is blogging.

At least you're saying that you cannot have a blog without comments.

Thanks all. Good point from the "purist" angle David...and Paul, you make great analogies.

I love maintaining my own blog--but I'm finding I'm having more fun, and supporting the overall conversation, by getting involved in other blogs. So I guess my point is two-fold: (1) I want to encourage others to get out of their own blogs more and (2) I want to lower the barriers to entry for new bloggers as so many clients/colleagues of are putting-off joining the conversation because they're daunted by launching a blog. Just getting involved in other blogs is a big step--that will likely lead to launching their own.

Paul is spot-on, writing a letter to the Editor does not make you a journalist (great point!). But because we're in an 'interactive arena', when we post comments we near instantly become part of the conversation. David is right too (as always!), you can't just post a comment and be a blogger. But when you involve yourself in various sites on a regular basis, I do believe you've joined the conversation. To me that's what "being a blogger" is really about.

So I'll continue to have a blog but focus even more on getting involved in other blogs (too much fun and too important not to). Thanks for stoppin' by and giving me good reasons to re-think my thinking.

Hiya CK, so pleased to blog-meetcha!
Thank you for visiting my "plog" and for the super shout-out! you are a rockstar! and I read here, brill too!
So girl, this is something I do as well:
www.westcoaster.ca
WE need help getting the word out that we are there....you know how to do that!
woot! woot!
If you send me an email, I will email you back and maybe we can jive together!
wheeeeeeeeeeeee!
Susan

I couldn't agree with you more about getting out and about amongst other blogs.

I also couldn't agree with you more about people getting a feel for blogs prior to writing one themselves by commenting - it's the one bit of advice I throw at anyone before they start one up.

It's very simple: you reap what you sow when it comes to commenting.

I posted comments at one blog for about 6 months, before starting my own. I darn near "took over" his blog, in fact, the #1 commenter.

It was virtually a team blog, I was a co-blogger. He published articles and I attached commentary to them, and argued with other commment posters, and defended the blog author.

Is a lurker a blogger? Just visiting, always reading, but never commenting?

I have a whole gang of theories on all these topics. But I'd bore your readers to explicate them all. I'm such a syncope.

P.S. There is a "blog residue" that is a benefit of blogging, that carries over into exo-blogospheric realms, outside the blog, in the offline life of a blogger.

The blog residue is the effects that blogging have on an individual. Hardcore rough and tumble blogging increases your boldness, thinking skills, and debating prowess in your ordinary, non-blogging life.

I am far more assertive and confident, since I started blogging, and handling both insincere praise and hostile flames.

Critics have improved me vastly. Player haters have made me more aggressive and stubborn in the directions I have chosen.

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