March 31, 2005

Blogging About Blawgers at TECHSHOW

This is the really cool part about TECHSHOW -- sitting in a nice strong Intel-sponsored Wi-Fi cloud, and listening to Ernie, Rick, and Sabrina talk about blogging. Half of the room is full of blawgers, the other half are keenly interested in jumping in.

What is a blog and what is it good for? Ernie says it's a great way to trap a lot of fish -- people surfing around the web using Google who stumble across blogs. Rick aptly pointed out that Google loves fresh content and links as votes -- as a result, Google knows that blogs are updated more often. Here's a key point, that I've blogged previously: Google doesn't just index sites by their own content. Google also indexes content based upon content in other sites' links to your site. It's called Google Bombing, and it was used quite expertly to embarrass President Bush. Just Google for "miserable failure" to see what I mean.

The wild thing about blogs that Rick, Ernie, and I have all experienced is that some of our most "successful" posts are ones that haven't related directly to the legal world. In my case, I've seen my blog traffic spike over the RSS vs. Atom feed debate, and most recently over how to use your 3G cell phone to get free wireless Internet access. It made it within the top 10 results (the first page) for "free cell internet access", without the quotes, on Google.

Sabrina enlightened us with how blogging has evolved into internal use, behind the firewall. It's difficult to gain inertia, to be sure. Sabrina urged that we have to plead, beg, and keep at it. As Ernie added, while we see the power of this use, the problem is that people within an organization are often too busy and don't like to share. It's ironic, and something I've experienced, that people outside the organization are more responsive and gratified by the information than those within. However, sooner or later, the word gets out, and pockets of folks start to realize its benefits.

Sabrina adds that you need Informational Omnivores within your organization -- people hungry for taking in, processing, organizing and sharing information. Many bloggers fall squarely in this category, myself included.

Rick and Sabrina covered why RSS feeds are so important, but had different experiences: Rick's blog gets twice as much RSS feed traffic than web pages served. Sabrina's is exactly the opposite. Some of it has to do with the differences in their audiences. Rick's is more tech-focused, whereas Sabrina's is more legal-focused and probably attracts more web browser-centric users than RSS feedreader users.

The discussion turned to blogging platforms for those interested in starting one today. TypePad clearly came up as the winner for newbies, based upon the number of people here who made various recommendations. While Movable Type is great, it requires a much higher level of geekiness. Monica Bay stood up and raved about TypePad, even though "it sucks on a Mac". (You gotta love Monica's style.)

Monica's pearls of wisdom:

  • Find your voice

  • Be yourself

  • Find the 4 - 5 themes that are your signature issues
Rick enlightened us on Podcasting. After you create the MP3 sound file, you need to have a way to get this delivered to others. Rick uses Doppler, and mentioned Rick predicts that Apple will probably find a way to incorporate this function into iTunes, and given its runaway success, I'd say that's a fair bet. Enrico Schaefer mentioned that he uses

Topic(s):   Blogging Tips
Posted by Jeff Beard