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CEO blogs, risk, failure August 6, 2006

Posted by electrica in basic blogology, CEO blogs, deep blogology, Uncategorized.
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A CEO must be cautious and visionary, modest and inspiring, transparent and trustworthy.

As a CEO looks at the blogging phenomenon and the blogosphere, what should be the verdict? To many CEOs, blogging seems “too risky”, “time-consuming”, “vulnerability hole”, “pipeline to lunacy”, “imprudent exposure”, i.e., blogging is a bad idea.

But most CEOs stand to realize tremendous benefits from candid, courageous, controversial blogging.

“Life is always a series of ups and downs, triumphs and failures. You may be successful if your triumphs simply outnumber your failures. But, in order to be successful, you must experience those failures and you must learn from them.”

— Erroll B. Davis, Jr., Chairman, President & CEO, Alliant Energy. (Wisdom for a Young CEO, Douglas Barry, Running Press 2004, p. 40)

CEOs need not fear blogging, any more than the telephone when it was first invented.

Why fear your voice will not sound strong and authoritative, in a blog or on a phone? Why fear a blog will make you look bad, when you are comfortable on television and video conferencing? Why fear to write a blog, when it’s much the same as composing email?

Why fear you will interact with bizarre trouble-makers? Your sales and service staff deal with such annoyances every day. Your cashiers and IT guys confront unexpected kooks as a standard routine, and have much they could tell you.

Now, blogs and videocasting are your opportunity to take a calculated risk, and enjoy the lessons of failure or the glory of success.

Either way, you win.

Cascading Project Proliferation. transparent CEO blogging. August 5, 2006

Posted by electrica in blog evaluation, CEO blogs, deep blogology, Discrete Strategic Transparency, Miserably Servile Customer Pampering, Personal Blogging, Uncategorized.
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A CEO blogger speaks recently of self-assigned chores that seem to somehow expand as they are pursued. Like the “fix it” mode goes berserk. Perfectionism kicks in. Work ethic obsession outbursts persist in the new dimension of infinite sequence chains massively self-propagating eternally.

The industrial managerial psychologists have a word for this, “cascading project proliferation” or “autonomous task sprawl” or “retroflexive recursive feedback entropy  syndrome” or “dynamic loop psychosis”.

Neologisms, tools with which to handle these nearly ineffable realities of life.

This type of sleeves rolled up, jacket off, deck shoes commentary on personal life, mixed with business insight or better, philosophical questions, is my favorite type of candid blogging.

There is a power in discrete transparency, and it’s euphoric.

The way it works is:

(1) You are bothered by, or pensively contemplative toward, an item.

(2) You briefly mention in your blog how it annoyed or impeded you. This is a quick connect with common folk via customized anecdote.

(3) You then build an abrupt bridge, connecting the complaint or observation with a broader business reality or practice.

(4) You demonstrate that the business and personal realms can mesh, to the productive gain of both your organization and your audience, as they benefit from a humanized real life example of a difficult to grasp or esoteric principle of business.

It’s what I call Discrete Strategic Transparency. As opposed to reckless, indiscriminate gushing of private, trivial, and inappropriate details. A “need to know” basis. A controlled revelation of personal details, with a larger objective in view.

Discrete Strategic Transparency enhances the credibility and persuasive power of a blog, by helping readers to relate to you as a regular individual with good insights and astonishing brevity of narrative.

CEO Charisma: what is it? July 31, 2006

Posted by electrica in blog business tools, CEO blogs, CEO Videos, Video Blogging.
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Here’s a comment I posted on CEO Blog – Time Management by Jim Estill, CEO – SYNNEX Canada Ltd.

The topic of one of his posts was executive charisma. He questioned whether he really had much charisma. I’d say he’s probably got plenty, because you have to have some charisma to lead such a successful and prosperous corporation.

Charisma can come across in a text blog, I suppose, to an extent.  But a CEO Video blog post can really communicate your charisma, personality, and vision.
[QUOTE]

Charisma is suddenly a vital topic to me, since I’ve gotten into video blogging and CEO videos.

What is charisma? Does it necessarily mean extroverted, wild-eyed, pulpit pounding enthusiasm, gushing charm and a twinkle in the eye?

I doubt it. I think there are many types of charisma, including a gentle, soothing, calm, shy, and introspective manner.

I point you to the book Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It — by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner.

Kouzes is chairman emeritus of the Tom Peters Company.

According to their research, constituents seek (1) Honest (2) Forward-looking (visionary) (3) Inspiring (4) Competent (5) Fair minded (6) Supportive…(etc.) leadership.

Where does charisma fit into this scheme? The word “charisma” is not even found in the index of the book.

Thus, I think charisma is a blend of the 6 qualities above, especially being Visionary in an Inspiring manner.

How you portray these qualities is up to you, or any other CEO.
[END QUOTE]

According to Websters New World Dictionary, “charisma” is (1) a divinely inspired gift or talent, as for prophesying, healing, etc. (2) a special quality of leadership that inspires great popular allegiance.

I personally think you can have charisma, even when few follow you, and your organization is not doing very well, for reasons that are not your fault. I think of Socrates, Buddha, Jesus, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abe Lincoln, Tim Berners-Lee, Jason Calacanis, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, heck, even The Beatles…

Did they have “charisma”? As we commonly think of it?

Or did they have a burning passion for an idea that simply had to come to pass through their efforts and leadership?

How much of their lifelong achievement was due to charisma?

To me, charisma is passion, dedication, and a unique, warm personality that inspires others to follow cheerfully and expectantly.

atomic unit of the web: from site to page to tag? July 30, 2006

Posted by electrica in basic blogology, blog business tools, deep blogology, information architecture, tagging, web usability.
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Jakob Nielsen once said, in his Designing Web Usability book, that the atomic unit, the smallest coherent unit of the web was the web page.

At first, people linked to static, or infrequently updated, web sites. Then, as web sites became more complex, requiring site maps, site indexes, and clearly, relevantly labeled tabs, the exact page of a site grew in importance.

Weblogs made linking even more page oriented, with frequent posting on more varied topics. While site search and sidebar post categories were a step in the right direction, they were often unsatisfactory, hit or miss, and time-consuming.

We link, ideally, in most cases, to a specific post we are quoting, rather than to thehome page of a site. Linking to the site’s main index or home page forces the user to navigate to the specific page containing the quote or image or whatever is being referenced. This enables users to go immediately to the specific information, audio, video, photo, or art image we want them to check out.

This is why hardcore bloggers will keep a notebook with post URLs (web addresses) for each post they publish.

Now, tagging each post is all the rage, especially for what is called Web 2.0 designers and advocates. Adding tags to posts is a way to provide a context or keyword identification of a post’s content, prior to actually reading the post. Tags also enable users to see other posts, at other sites, that are tagged with the same words, thus, hopefully, relevant to the same topic.

Many problems arise with tagging. You rely on the honesty and intelligence of the site author who adds a tag or tags to a post. Plus, who knows how relevant and information-rich the posts are going to be, the posts all tagged with a specific word?

Worse yet, and you can see this in YouTube as an example, some sites that you provide content to will not have a good tagging system.

What I mean is this: say you want to tag a post “vaspers the grate”. If the site tells you that the tags must be separated by commas, or put in quotes, you’re alright. You can type in the tags “vaspers the grate, web usability analysis, blogology” (excluding the quotes) for example. Or just “vaspers the grate” (in quotes).

But wait. At some sites, like YouTube (and I’m not picking on them), your tags can be only one word. That’s why my own videos are tagged “CEOblogs” and “vaspers”, rather than “CEO blogs” and “vaspers the grate” (excluding quotes). Because the tag “CEO blogs” are two words, two separate tags, “CEO” and “blogs”, and NOT “CEO blogs”.

This distinction becomes absurd with something like “vaspers the grate” (excluding quotes) as a tag. The tags, plural, become “vaspers”, “the”, and “grate”. I jam two or three words together, as a workaround.

How to make a New Super Blog for Web 2.0 March 9, 2006

Posted by electrica in basic blogology, blog business tools, CEO blogs, deep blogology, ecommerce blogs.
1 comment so far

(1) Focus & Expand: get a dominant purpose, but go off on interesting or instructive tangents to keep readers in suspence and to spice up with exotic flavors that make you *memorable* and eminently *re-visitable*, perhaps even blogrollable and RSS/Atom feed subscribable.

(2) Benefit your blog readers with more than just your charisma, personality quirks, and goofy products, unless that’s all you have…but those are not enough.

Gain new marketable skills, or test new open source software offerings and freeware network enhancements, that you can pass on to your readers who wish to have fun and succeed.

(3) Interact kindly with your blog community/family via rapid replies to comments and emails and Skypes and Google Chats.

(4) Provide state of the art widgets, as deemed appropriate and effective, without distracting, bewildering, or seeming too techy: polls, custom search engines, online games, digital art, staff photos, company picnic video, audio CEO welcome message, mascot chatbot for the kids (like “subservient chicken” or “toby” but way way better), RSS/Atom feed URLs displayed and subscription mechanisms, web contact/feedback forms upfront, upfront Contact and About pages, relevant link lists, podcast links, Odeo podcast creation mechnanism…

…provide fun, interesting, provocative, wild, cool, hip, entertaining, educational, fun, easy, easier, easiest, fastest INTERACTIVE doodads, amigo!

more on Web 2.0-ready blogs next time, friends!

Why your business needs a blogologist March 6, 2006

Posted by electrica in finding a good blogologist.
2 comments

Your business needs a blogologist.

Why?

Because if you do your own blog, you could make serious mistakes that will adversely impact your business.

Because a blog lets you tell your story the way you want it told, convey the exact message you want to get across, with no media filters or distortions.

Because blogs are how many businesses are reaching out to consumers, and more importantly: listening to them.

Why listen to consumers?

Because that’s how you discover new marketing strategies, product lines, and product improvements.

Because that’s how you position yourself as an industry leader.

Because that’s how you create good word of mouth advertising:

“Company XYZ paid attention to me. They helped me solve the problem. They assisted me in choosing the perfect product for my needs. This company is worthy of my loyalty and I’ll be buying more from them.”

What a Blogologist Can Do
for Your Business

* determine if you can benefit from a blog

* determine if it should be an individual or team blog

* create your blog for public readership

* prevent your blog from causing more harm than help

* determine if you need intranet blogs for project collaborations

* create a name, description, URL for your blog

* determine who should be the company blogger

* define the goals and focus of your blog

* provide strategy for promoting your blog

* boost your blog search engine ranking

* explain proper composition of hypertext links for posts

* provide direction on blog design enhancements

* prevent comment spam, abusive remarks, and other cyber-vandalism

* write sample posts to provide direction, but never as a “ghost blogger” pretending to be the CEO or a fictional character

* monitor your blog and help you take advantage of emerging trends in blogging

* teach you or a designated “damage control” agent how to wage effective blogodiplomacy…or blogocombat

…and much more.

When I googled the word “blogologist”, on August 4, 2005, my blog ranked #13, 14, 20, 22, 25, and 31. Probably a lot more after that, but that’s where I stopped investigating.

Not too shabby given the fact that I have written very posts on “blogologist” specifically. And the fact that I never write with an eye on search engine rankings. It’s not keyword spamming that boosts your rank. It’s the frequent publishing of fresh, rich, relevant content.

For a limited time only, I will provide you with a free analysis of whether blogging and your business, or corporate culture, are compatible.

Find out if your business could benefit from a blog.

WARNING: If you wait to see if others in your industry can blog successfully, it’ll be too late for you to jump in. Your competitors will have already established their blogs as the authoritative resources.

Why lag behind and be perceived as a clueless imitator?

Let’s get your business blog into the blogosphere and watch it work.

Contact me today.

Contact me at:

steven [dot] streight [at] gmail [dot] com

:^)

How to Evaluate Your Blog: part 2 March 6, 2006

Posted by electrica in blog evaluation.
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True Blog Value vs. Blog Peripherals

We wish to judge the actual, intrinsic worth and benefit of a blog to its actual or intended audience.

A blog reader generally won’t, or shouldn’t, care about blog peripherals. Blog peripherals (items on the outside, external to the blog itself) are irrelevant factors in judging a blog’s value.

In other words, we must start with the internal essence and outward presentation of a blog first. All other considerations and hopes must take a backseat to this primary valuation.

“First root, then fruit”

The marketing secret contained in the whisper-transmission is this: if you concentrate on continual improvement of the root, you won’t have to worry about the fruit.

These blog peripherals *may be* worthy goals, realistic objectives, for a blog, but they are external to the blog proper. While you may want the blog to accomplish certain things for yourself, your organization, or your product, I suggest that you refrain from judging your blog from the viewpoint of secondary effects.

Blog peripherals are blog effects, ideals, goals, reactions, responses, external impact–they are not the blog proper, the blog as it exists in itself.

The main external impact a blog has is on the blogger, even more than the audience. The blog changes, hopefully improves and polishes, the blogger.

My point?

DO NOT abandon or delete a blog just because it fails to perform in these aspects that are supplementary, auxiliary, ancillary (from ancilla: “maid-servant”), subordinate, consequential, inferior to the core worth of the blog in itself, apart from its context and the overall strategy.

Now, here is an explanation of why each of the above blog peripherals is not a valid measurement of the value of a blog.

1. Increased traffic to a commercial site.

There may be many other factors contributing to the increase of site traffic.

A blog should be judged according to what it is meant to be within itself. How the blog impacts other aspects of an enterprise is a secondary, though possibly colossal, concern.

The blog may be successful in it’s content, presentation, and community-building, but not drive traffic to the commercial site. Don’t abandon the blog: keep it as a service to customers, a way to build an online community of shared interests, revolving around your brand or personality.

Now the Bad News: a blog with the primary aim of driving traffic to some other web site, is a blog that generally tends to be hype-filled, pushy, flashy, circus-like, annoying, and insincere.

The message of a Traffic Pusher Blog seems to be: “We’re glad you’re here, visiting this blog. Have we got a product for you! You’ll love it as much as we do, I’m sure. Why not go over to our web site now? Read about our product and how great we and it are. Buy our product.”

Users go to the trouble of visiting the blog, but swiftly get the strong impression that the blog is fake friendly, isn’t offering much, and it just a tool, a toy, a tentacle of the corporate octopus. This, in the hyper-sensitive populace of the internet, is annoying and lowers your credibility.

Hype is Off Net.

Fascinating stories, free technology, clear immediate benefits, breathless jittery writing style, and quick how-to tips are On Net.

2. Increased sales at commercial site, attributable to the blog.

A blog makes a lousy vending machine. It’s like setting up a lemonade stand in your livingroom. If there are any refreshments at all, livingroom visitors fully expect them to be free, if not abundant. Your blog is very similar to your livingroom.

In the case of a Product Blog, or a blog pitching a consultant’s services, it’s recommended that you avoid writing incessant self-promotional posts and sidebar badges. Be proud of your credentials and self-reflect, but be very shy about tooting your own horn. Anything smelling like hype will drive visitors away from you, in droves and stampedes.

blog = email to the world, not a sales catalog

Hype is totally alien to the ultra-friendly environment of the blog, even a business or scientific blog. Doc Searls is credited with the brilliant saying, “a blog is an email to the world”. This terrific insight underscores the intimacy, hence honesty and transparency, of the [ideal] blog.

dual-utopian nature of blogs

Candid and mutually beneficial conversations occur in blogs because they traditionally have a dual-utopian nature: tech link logging and diarist exhibitionism.

Basically, every blog quivers and fluctuates back and forth between these two opposing poles.

This deep blogological observation ensures that all blogs can be seen as providing other web locations, by hypertext editorial links and sidebar link badges, and/or providing chatty, relaxed, authoritative, aggressive stance commentary on various issues or facts.

A link log, like Robot Wisdom has no or little commentary. It provides updated, hyperlinked lists of other web locations, blogs and websites. On the other end of the spectrum, a young person might use a blog for journaling purposes. Every blog typically isolates or combines these two primal blog functions, to varying degrees and in multitudinous manners.

A blog can be used to sell items, or direct users to the commercial web site, but their hearts will be more open to your sales message if you give them fantastic information or super-intelligent advice, tons of it, the more the better, first. And keep that blog text witty, chatty, loose, and casual, even if the blog is professional or scholarly.

3. Large number of comments on blog posts

Many new bloggers worry about months of blogging, with not a single comment.

I will not go into depth here about How To Increase the Reader Comments at Your Blog, but my topic here is: don’t worry about comment quantity. Also: think–would you *really* want to have 635 comments on every post, like a Pete Townsend? Would you be able to read, AND RESPOND, to each of them.

Number of comments means almost nothing.

Quality of comments is everything.

Tons of comments, especially empty remarks of appreciation or praise, that contribute no new information, are just sludge that readers may tire of in a big hurry. But a few great comments, even just one amazing comment, can really enhance even the best post ever written.

“I got 559 comments on that post. That was a highly successful and popular post, ” some blogger declares triumphantly. But if 554 of those comments are vacuous, trite, boring, stupid, butt-kissing, self-promotional, or off topic, what does this say about the post then? And the blogger? And the blog audience, as “big” as the blogger thinks it is?

Good comments, relevant remarks that add information or experiential anecdotes, or critical complaints that improve your ideas, these enrich a blog.

Be thrilled when someone posts a long, scholarly, passionate, wildly funny, astonishingly interesting comment on a post. The comment poster just acted as a contributing editor to your blog publication. The comment poster is to some slight degree a co-author of your blog, even when the comment is negative. Comments expand and multiply the conversation begun by your post.

4. Large number of search engine references to the blog

Search engine hits can be very misleading. They do not mean anything in terms of a blog’s popularity or success. They would mean a great deal if the quality and accuracy of the hits were of high standard, but they are not. Many search engine references are to irrelevant citations, insertions of your blog URL in link farm blogoids, mis-spellings of phrases similar to your blog title, and many other contingencies.

Search engine hits for my name “Steven Edward Streight” include some “streight” citations which are simply mis-spellings of “straight”, as in “I told him to come streight home after school”.

5. Large number of links to the blog

Just because other bloggers are not blogrolling your blog in their sidebars, or not linking to your blog in their posts, this does not mean your blog is not good enough.

It can take a lot of time, and a lot of posting comments at other blogs, to attract other bloggers to visit your blog and be astonished at something in it, then write a post about it on their blog or add your blog to a blogroll, which is a privileged status.

Besides, when a blog has a lot of other blogs linking to it, blogrolls, though privileged, are also somewhat perfuctory, almost decoration. A blogroll can also function less as a linked list of recommended sites, than an attempt to appear to be in the “clique” of certain top, relevant bloggers.

6. Large number of textual citations of the blog

Again, just because right now your blog is not well known, this is no reason to feel like a “sub-blogger” or “Z-lister”, a loser or underachiever.

Maybe nobody cites your blog, because it’s too profound, too complete, too competitive with those blogs you wish would pay attention to you. The other bloggers in your field of expertise or entertainment may fear or envy you. Maybe your blog makes their blog look feeble in comparison. Who knows?

7. Large number of visitors to the blog

Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to visitors.

A blog that has 100 visitors a day is no less effective, interesting, or valuable than a blog that has 100, 000 visitors a day. Where did anyone ever get such an absurd idea? What kind of readership does a blog have? Are they young, old, educated, experienced, nice, smart, polite, funny? Will they convert from readers of your blog to buyers of your book or other products?

Or are they “just eyeballs”, passive receptors of an addictive blog?

True Evaluation of Your Blog

Of course you hope your message, your humor, your advice, your revolt reaches ever increasing numbers of people.

It’s only natural to like seeing lots of reactions, comments, or emails regarding something you wrote. Yet, your best posts may be so stunning and sublime, no comment could do it justice. You remember that are many reasons why you don’t get as many comments as you might like.

Try asking for comments, in a non-beggarly manner. Watch me. I do it now and then. I’ll say, “What is your opinion. Post a comment or email me.”

We like seeing our blog cited in other blogs, and seeing it on blogrolls, and quoted in books.

But if you allow yourself to get obsessed with blog stats, blog reception, blog popularity, and all the other miscellaneous issues, you’ll lose sight of the true value of a blog.

The true evaluation of a blog is only this: does you know pretty well what your readers tend to need? Do you then provide it in a manner you think fits with your personal style and with their expectations?

If your blog meets the needs of your audience, your blog is good, effective, worth continuing forever.

Even a conjectured, hypothetical audience.

Seriously.

A blog designed for a theoretical audience of readers is good when it contains what that imaginary audience needs.

Why do I talk say this?

Because that illusory audience probably DOES exist, somewhere in cyber-space. And some of it could easily end up at your blog.

Meet the needs of your blog readers. Consider that success enough. This can in turn lead to very great advantages to any individual, company, or organization.

How to Evaluate Your Blog: part 2 March 6, 2006

Posted by electrica in blog evaluation.
add a comment

True Blog Value vs. Blog Peripherals

We wish to judge the actual, intrinsic worth and benefit of a blog to its actual or intended audience.

A blog reader generally won’t, or shouldn’t, care about blog peripherals. Blog peripherals (items on the outside, external to the blog itself) are irrelevant factors in judging a blog’s value.

In other words, we must start with the internal essence and outward presentation of a blog first. All other considerations and hopes must take a backseat to this primary valuation.

“First root, then fruit”

The marketing secret contained in the whisper-transmission is this: if you concentrate on continual improvement of the root, you won’t have to worry about the fruit.

These blog peripherals *may be* worthy goals, realistic objectives, for a blog, but they are external to the blog proper. While you may want the blog to accomplish certain things for yourself, your organization, or your product, I suggest that you refrain from judging your blog from the viewpoint of secondary effects.

Blog peripherals are blog effects, ideals, goals, reactions, responses, external impact–they are not the blog proper, the blog as it exists in itself.

The main external impact a blog has is on the blogger, even more than the audience. The blog changes, hopefully improves and polishes, the blogger.

My point?

DO NOT abandon or delete a blog just because it fails to perform in these aspects that are supplementary, auxiliary, ancillary (from ancilla: “maid-servant”), subordinate, consequential, inferior to the core worth of the blog in itself, apart from its context and the overall strategy.

Now, here is an explanation of why each of the above blog peripherals is not a valid measurement of the value of a blog.

1. Increased traffic to a commercial site.

There may be many other factors contributing to the increase of site traffic.

A blog should be judged according to what it is meant to be within itself. How the blog impacts other aspects of an enterprise is a secondary, though possibly colossal, concern.

The blog may be successful in it’s content, presentation, and community-building, but not drive traffic to the commercial site. Don’t abandon the blog: keep it as a service to customers, a way to build an online community of shared interests, revolving around your brand or personality.

Now the Bad News: a blog with the primary aim of driving traffic to some other web site, is a blog that generally tends to be hype-filled, pushy, flashy, circus-like, annoying, and insincere.

The message of a Traffic Pusher Blog seems to be: “We’re glad you’re here, visiting this blog. Have we got a product for you! You’ll love it as much as we do, I’m sure. Why not go over to our web site now? Read about our product and how great we and it are. Buy our product.”

Users go to the trouble of visiting the blog, but swiftly get the strong impression that the blog is fake friendly, isn’t offering much, and it just a tool, a toy, a tentacle of the corporate octopus. This, in the hyper-sensitive populace of the internet, is annoying and lowers your credibility.

Hype is Off Net.

Fascinating stories, free technology, clear immediate benefits, breathless jittery writing style, and quick how-to tips are On Net.

2. Increased sales at commercial site, attributable to the blog.

A blog makes a lousy vending machine. It’s like setting up a lemonade stand in your livingroom. If there are any refreshments at all, livingroom visitors fully expect them to be free, if not abundant. Your blog is very similar to your livingroom.

In the case of a Product Blog, or a blog pitching a consultant’s services, it’s recommended that you avoid writing incessant self-promotional posts and sidebar badges. Be proud of your credentials and self-reflect, but be very shy about tooting your own horn. Anything smelling like hype will drive visitors away from you, in droves and stampedes.

blog = email to the world, not a sales catalog

Hype is totally alien to the ultra-friendly environment of the blog, even a business or scientific blog. Doc Searls is credited with the brilliant saying, “a blog is an email to the world”. This terrific insight underscores the intimacy, hence honesty and transparency, of the [ideal] blog.

dual-utopian nature of blogs

Candid and mutually beneficial conversations occur in blogs because they traditionally have a dual-utopian nature: tech link logging and diarist exhibitionism.

Basically, every blog quivers and fluctuates back and forth between these two opposing poles.

This deep blogological observation ensures that all blogs can be seen as providing other web locations, by hypertext editorial links and sidebar link badges, and/or providing chatty, relaxed, authoritative, aggressive stance commentary on various issues or facts.

A link log, like Robot Wisdom has no or little commentary. It provides updated, hyperlinked lists of other web locations, blogs and websites. On the other end of the spectrum, a young person might use a blog for journaling purposes. Every blog typically isolates or combines these two primal blog functions, to varying degrees and in multitudinous manners.

A blog can be used to sell items, or direct users to the commercial web site, but their hearts will be more open to your sales message if you give them fantastic information or super-intelligent advice, tons of it, the more the better, first. And keep that blog text witty, chatty, loose, and casual, even if the blog is professional or scholarly.

3. Large number of comments on blog posts

Many new bloggers worry about months of blogging, with not a single comment.

I will not go into depth here about How To Increase the Reader Comments at Your Blog, but my topic here is: don’t worry about comment quantity. Also: think–would you *really* want to have 635 comments on every post, like a Pete Townsend? Would you be able to read, AND RESPOND, to each of them.

Number of comments means almost nothing.

Quality of comments is everything.

Tons of comments, especially empty remarks of appreciation or praise, that contribute no new information, are just sludge that readers may tire of in a big hurry. But a few great comments, even just one amazing comment, can really enhance even the best post ever written.

“I got 559 comments on that post. That was a highly successful and popular post, ” some blogger declares triumphantly. But if 554 of those comments are vacuous, trite, boring, stupid, butt-kissing, self-promotional, or off topic, what does this say about the post then? And the blogger? And the blog audience, as “big” as the blogger thinks it is?

Good comments, relevant remarks that add information or experiential anecdotes, or critical complaints that improve your ideas, these enrich a blog.

Be thrilled when someone posts a long, scholarly, passionate, wildly funny, astonishingly interesting comment on a post. The comment poster just acted as a contributing editor to your blog publication. The comment poster is to some slight degree a co-author of your blog, even when the comment is negative. Comments expand and multiply the conversation begun by your post.

4. Large number of search engine references to the blog

Search engine hits can be very misleading. They do not mean anything in terms of a blog’s popularity or success. They would mean a great deal if the quality and accuracy of the hits were of high standard, but they are not. Many search engine references are to irrelevant citations, insertions of your blog URL in link farm blogoids, mis-spellings of phrases similar to your blog title, and many other contingencies.

Search engine hits for my name “Steven Edward Streight” include some “streight” citations which are simply mis-spellings of “straight”, as in “I told him to come streight home after school”.

5. Large number of links to the blog

Just because other bloggers are not blogrolling your blog in their sidebars, or not linking to your blog in their posts, this does not mean your blog is not good enough.

It can take a lot of time, and a lot of posting comments at other blogs, to attract other bloggers to visit your blog and be astonished at something in it, then write a post about it on their blog or add your blog to a blogroll, which is a privileged status.

Besides, when a blog has a lot of other blogs linking to it, blogrolls, though privileged, are also somewhat perfuctory, almost decoration. A blogroll can also function less as a linked list of recommended sites, than an attempt to appear to be in the “clique” of certain top, relevant bloggers.

6. Large number of textual citations of the blog

Again, just because right now your blog is not well known, this is no reason to feel like a “sub-blogger” or “Z-lister”, a loser or underachiever.

Maybe nobody cites your blog, because it’s too profound, too complete, too competitive with those blogs you wish would pay attention to you. The other bloggers in your field of expertise or entertainment may fear or envy you. Maybe your blog makes their blog look feeble in comparison. Who knows?

7. Large number of visitors to the blog

Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to visitors.

A blog that has 100 visitors a day is no less effective, interesting, or valuable than a blog that has 100, 000 visitors a day. Where did anyone ever get such an absurd idea? What kind of readership does a blog have? Are they young, old, educated, experienced, nice, smart, polite, funny? Will they convert from readers of your blog to buyers of your book or other products?

Or are they “just eyeballs”, passive receptors of an addictive blog?

True Evaluation of Your Blog

Of course you hope your message, your humor, your advice, your revolt reaches ever increasing numbers of people.

It’s only natural to like seeing lots of reactions, comments, or emails regarding something you wrote. Yet, your best posts may be so stunning and sublime, no comment could do it justice. You remember that are many reasons why you don’t get as many comments as you might like.

Try asking for comments, in a non-beggarly manner. Watch me. I do it now and then. I’ll say, “What is your opinion. Post a comment or email me.”

We like seeing our blog cited in other blogs, and seeing it on blogrolls, and quoted in books.

But if you allow yourself to get obsessed with blog stats, blog reception, blog popularity, and all the other miscellaneous issues, you’ll lose sight of the true value of a blog.

The true evaluation of a blog is only this: does you know pretty well what your readers tend to need? Do you then provide it in a manner you think fits with your personal style and with their expectations?

If your blog meets the needs of your audience, your blog is good, effective, worth continuing forever.

Even a conjectured, hypothetical audience.

Seriously.

A blog designed for a theoretical audience of readers is good when it contains what that imaginary audience needs.

Why do I talk say this?

Because that illusory audience probably DOES exist, somewhere in cyber-space. And some of it could easily end up at your blog.

Meet the needs of your blog readers. Consider that success enough. This can in turn lead to very great advantages to any individual, company, or organization.

How to Evaluate Your Blog: part 1 March 6, 2006

Posted by electrica in basic blogology.
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How to evaluate your blog is a big mystery.

Try doing an internet search on “blog evaluation”, “judging a blog”, and similar phrases. If your experience is like mine, you’ll get just about nothing worthwhile from the search results.

Even such phrases as “effective blogging” provide little in my searches. I just got back from a visit to Debbie Weil’s Blog Write for CEOs article on effective blogging. She focused on 7 aspects of the writing of a blog, starting with “write about something you’re passionate about”. Good article for beginners and clueless business protons. She explains things in a way that even managers can understand.

But let’s roll up our sleeves now, and really get to work on this.

What I will say here will strike many as bizarre, and definitely unconventional. I can’t help it. This is how I think, and I think my thinking can benefit everyone, from teenagers with personal blogs to CEOs with professional blogs.

The only true measurements of a blog’s value to a specific reader, audience, customer, client, colleague, family, friend, or market will revolve around knowing what they need and providing it.

Do you know what your blog readers want?

Are you providing it?

Then you’ve got a good blog, an effective blog.

Now, I must qualify, and say as long as that blog is also passionate, well-written, easy to read, full of relevant content, authentically the real you (and not a ghost-writer), honest, candid, enabling readers to post comments, and all the other Core Values and Deeper Principles of New Super Blogging.

“What the hell is he talking about?” some may think. “I’m not investing any time or money in a blog for my organization — if the only budgetary justification for it is a vague, subjective feeling that I’m probably meeting people’s needs.”

Why is my simple statement so controversial, contrarian, verging on anarchy? Because this is the one thing businesses need to pay more attention to. And because many blog consultants think they can justify their services by pointing to other benchmarks for blog success.

What criteria are more popular than my humble, simple little: “meet their needs”?

False Evaluation of a Blog

An untrue, or unrealistic, evaluation of a blog occurs when it is judged according to:

1. Increased traffic to commercial site

2. Increased sales at commercial site, attributable to the blog

3. Large number of comments on blog posts

4. Large number of search engine references to the blog

5. Large number of links to the blog

6. Large number of textual citations of the blog

7. Large number of visitors to the blog

These seven (7) criteria are not relevant to the actual, intrinsic, inherent worth of a blog. Now, I must state that these may be worthy goals for a blog, but they are not useful for evaluating a blog.

My back is killing me, so I can’t go into the depth I want here, nor will I stupidly hire a “ghost blogger”, nor will I dictate my text to my wife, because it’s Friday, and she works at a computer all day.

I’ll post more on this later. I’ll go into details about why each false criterion is invalid.

Just take this thought with you for now: Your blog, personal or business or military, is worth the time and trouble if you are providing benefit to potential or actual readers.

“Now he’s saying you can benefit merely potential readers”, someone might proclaim ironically. “What madness is this?”

You’ll see…later. Stay tuned. I’m going to develop this with some complexity and a higher degree of completeness than you’ll find elsewhere, I imagine.

Definition of “blog” March 2, 2006

Posted by electrica in basic blogology.
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[NOTE: this post will be updated as I continue to add more definitions, or viewpoints, of what what a “blog” really is.]

Blog = “web” + “log”

Blog = a frequently updated, author controlled, simple mini-web site.

Blog = A “log” or journal, or better: series of entries (“posts”), that exists on the web.

Blog = the democratization of web content, the tool that allows even non-tech, newbie computer users to quickly and easily publish content (text, images, audio, video, etc.) to a simple collection of web pages.

Blog = the vanguard of the New Share Economy, the elite stormtrooper of the New Social Media Revolution, the next step in the evolution of online marketing.

Blog = the new “business card”, “resume”, “pitch book”, “sales seminar”, “project collaboration platform”, “intranet communication vehicle”, “professional journal”, “PR tool” … or however you wish, and need, to use it.