Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Fun Blogging for 2006

Fun Blogging for 2006

[ Photo restoration by Gerard Bertrand ]

The current blogological buzz going around is "add some memorable personal details, like photos of your cat and what music you like, to your blog, so you'll be more, er, the midst of some 12 to 29 million (estimates and trackings vary) other blooooooooogs.

This blogobuzz is correct.

All blogs *must* continue relentlessly to keep becoming "stickier" all the time, increasingly more interesting, giving your readers more to see and do, more reasons for your readers and new visitors to stay tuned and keep visiting at least once a week.

That's the ideal blog. Some, like Instapundit, may get thousands and multiple thousands of visits per hour on an high interest political news day.

But, as I see it, the goal is not just simple "self-expression".

Nor is the ideal, ultimate goal of a blog just "increased sales", "driving people to the commerical corporate web site", "meeting people and making friends", "counteracting bad PR", or "damageinfliction/damage control".

The goal of a blog should be: benefiting readers.

How You Can Benefit Your Blog Readers:

Pummel them with constantly updated, rapidly growing archive accumulations of:

* information

* anecdotes

* self-parody & satire

* zeal for a good cause

* unique perspective and writing style

* extreme candor and honesty

* carefully researched, heavily linked essays available nowhere else

* links, with definitions, to your other sites and/or client sites

* photography, cartoons, art

* comical writing, jokes

* music mp3s, video, games

* surveys, questionnaires

* unexpected design and content improvements

* links to new blogs you create as experiments, allowing readers to watch them grow, die, and be abandoned forever floating on the frozen fringes of the blogosphere.

* categorized links to other quality blogs and valuable web sites.

I also say that blogging, from personal blogs to CEO blogs, should be fun.

I think Mark Cuban has fun with his Blog Maverick blog.

Blog Pro Survey Responder Honor Roll

Cuban kindly replied to my 2005 Blog Pro Survey, along with Cory Doctorow (Boing Boing), David Weinberger (JOHO The Blog), Richard Edelman, Matt Mullenweg (PhotoMatt), Jorn Barger (Robot Wisdom), Chris Sells (Sells Brothers), Jonathan Dube (CyberJournalist dot net), Buzz Bruggeman (Buzzmodo), Dean Esmay (Dean's World), Debbie Weil (Blog Write for CEOs), Halley Suitt (Halley's Comment), Denise Howell (Bag & Baggage), Shel Israel (The Red Couch, It Seems To Me), Scott Young (Userland Software), Robert May (Business Pundit), Mike Bergin (10000 Birds),Riverbend (Baghdad Burning), Amy Gahran (Contentious), Nick Usborne (Excess Voice), Dave Taylor (Intuitive Life Business Blog), Paul Woodhouse (Tinbasher), John Battelle (Search Blog), Robin "Roblimo" Miller (Slashdot, Roblimo, NewsForge, Sourceforge), Evan Williams (Blogger, Evhead, Odeo),

Rich Marcello (Hewlitt-Packard), Michael Wiley (General Motors FastLane Blog), Serena Matthews (Painting Angels), AKM Adam, Roger L. Simon, Perry de Havilland (Samizdata), Frank McPherson (Notes from the Cave), Matt Margolis (Blogs for Bush), J. Bowen (No Watermelons Allowed), Ken Layne, Joanne Jacobs, Julia Haydon (The Daily Brief), Amanda Marcotte (Mouse Words), Greg Hoffman (Security Awareness for Ma, Pa, and the Corporate Clueless), Scott Ott (Scrappleface), R. Todd Stephens (R.Todd dot com), Sydney Smith (MedPundit), Jeralyn Merritt (Talk Left), Steven Parker, Thomas Duff, Margot Wallstrom (European Union Communications Commissioner),

David Hudson (Green Cine Daily), Joe Katzman (Winds of Change), Paul Chaney (Radiant Marketing), Heather Armstrong (Dooce), Dave Pollard (How To Save the World), Alex Golub (Golublog), Nathan Newman, Dave Johnson (Seeing the Forest), Dennis Jerz (Jerz' Literacy Blog), Peter Davidson (Thinking), Jennifer Rice (Brand Shift, What's Your Blog Mantra?), Dan KB6NU (KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog), Dave Pell (Davenetics), John Moore (Brand Autopsy), Laura Ries (Origin of Brands), Katherine Stone (Decent Marketing), and others.


Deerhoof, composed of ex-members of the all vinyl recording (no CDs) avant garde insanity 1800s prophetic Wisconsin cow banjo band Caroliner.

23 tracks by Deerhoof are available for free legal mp3 download, at Puzzing Music web site.

Deerhoof have a strong British 70s progrock celtic cottage sound, and are somewhat like a blend of Jethro Tull and Stereolab.

My friend Bennett Theissen says he owns 18 albums by Deerhoof. Is he for real? They have that many?

Carrie Snell

I like the way Carrie Snell (A Grain of Salt) will write about 4 or 5 different topics in one brief post, spawning explosions of reader comments going off in several different topic directions simultaneously. Much better than the "back channel upfront" technique recently used at Les Blogs, to the dismay of Shel Israel, who considered the live negative commentary ("this is boring") to be rude and disruptive, counter-productive. I agreed in a comment at The Red Couch blog.

It's not like I don't have much to say: I always already have horribly too much to say, and tend to take a long time to say it.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate



zafu said...

Serendipity! Today I chanced upong a Deehoof song on someone´s iTunes and it immediately caught my attention. Good stuff. I´d never heard of them before. Now I come here and you mention them?

Weird huh? Cool

Harvey Dog said...

Hi Vaspers

I agree with your viewpoint on blogs. I think a worthy goal of a blog should be to benefit it's readers. It doesn't have to be "deep"; it can entertain, soothe, relax. It can startle, provoke, stimulate. And as you describe in your list to benefit blog readers, there are many different ways to accomplish this.

I enjoy reading other people's opinions and viewpoints on a variety of subjects. It benefits me, by making me "think", sometimes by encouraging me to explore different things (ie. music, books, web sites, other blogs etc.), sometimes by making me realize something new or different or even reinforce my own viewpoint.

In regards to "increasing sales"...well, that's when good old cynicism can creep in. It certainly appears to be extremely difficult, nay, impossible to combine "increased sales" with high quality and complete honesty. Hats off to any that manage that.

Deerhoof sound very interesting. I love Tull! I'll be checking this site out. You see? Coming to this blog has benefitted me!

steven edward streight said...

This from Debbie Weil, New Super Business Blogger par excellance, via email to me:


I may use it in the book! In the home stretch of writing. very intense!!

BTW, where are the results of your 2005 pro blogger survey - ?? I'd
love to see. maybe could use in the book as well.


Debbie Weil
Author ~ Consultant ~ Blogger


The blog:

The new meta site:

The old home page:

t: 202.364.5705 m: 202.255.1467

skype: debbieweil


timjoe said...

ya know, as i read "fun blogging for 2006," i am somewhat torn about blogging...i like to come to vtg because i have a special interest in doing so...i know ss...if i didn't know him, i simply don't believe i would bookmark vtg, even though i consider myself ravenous about the universe of facts and opinions in cyberspace...i see blogs as places where strangers respond/react to the blogger, who is, essentially, "holding court" because the blogger is the one who initiates the topic, then everything else falls under that intiation...i'm not averse to that; i'm just saying that's what it is, unless i'm missing something about, online communities like yahoogroups or googlegroups are quite different...rather than someone "holding court," they are open forums where anyone can initiate a topic...thus, the sense of community, however small or large, is more acute than in a blog...don't get me wrong; i like both blogs and's just that i believe the blogger in general, although there are exceptions, is on a platform, speaking to the world but getting little response or reaction...vtg is a good example...i haven't looked extensively through the archives, but there seems to be a pretty clear pattern where ss posts and then gets either 0 comments or maybe two or three...everyone has their own standards of satisfaction, but i would be unsatisfied with that...hell, i'm disappointed when i post a photo or a question to my small online group and i only get one or two responses.

MARYBETH said...

Hey Vaspers,
Now, don't Blow up my blog for sharing this with you ...BUT I recieved an e-mail saying blog explosion is hiring for all sorts of positions including LEAD DEVELOPER.
I think you would be an amazing developer for what is currently a MS Blog Co.
Alright i am back to packing my suitcase (ugh!!!!!)

steven edward streight said...

timjoe: you raise a lot of issues about blogging and my blog in particular.

I'm glad my readers feel comfortable saying anything that's on their minds here.

I will soon write a post explaining all the issues you raised. One post in particular "Readerless Blogging" I think I called it, addresses the joys of blogging in obscurity.

I prefer to be relatively unknown, speaking to an elite crew of ragtag bloggers and an occassional A-lister.

Knowing that some powerful thought leaders read my blog and respond to my emails is very rewarding.

Less than 2% of internet users post user-generated content (comments) to the web.

Plus, I don't blog to for social reasons. I don't care if I get any comments or not, and lots of comments is not necessarily a sign of a good blogger or a beneficial blog.

Most of my posts are read, absorbed, maybe acted upon, but I try to cover a topic rather thoroughly, so many readers may not be able to think of any more to say. They disagree, or agree, maybe laugh, then move on, hopefully to a more activist endeavor than simply reading blogs.

I know that what I'm writing is true, factual, honest, and in my opinion, of benefit and value. That's enough for me.

I love receiving comments, but that's not why I blog. Yet, then again, it's a lot of fun to engage in conversation with almost anybody on topics with which I'm concerned.

You, Tim, worked for many years as a career journalist, for a metropolitan newspaper.

How often did you receive mail or phone calls, in response to your journalism?

What do you think of the Roblimo article I quoted about "Online newspapars need comments"?

I participate in various email discussion lists and online forums, but not for "community" (a worthy goal), but for information, insight, answers to questions.

steven edward streight said...

MARYBETH: Be careful traveling in this weather.

Blog Explosion?

Thanks for the tip, and I really appreciate your kindness, but they probably need a web designer or web developer, and I'm more of a web usability and web content analyst.

MARYBETH said...

"extreme candor and honesty"

You know Steven, since getting family and friends to participate in my blog as my focus , I realize it limits my literary freedom in writing about anything controversial that relates to any of them.
Any suggestions?

steven edward streight said...

MaryBeth: Yes. Don't.

steven edward streight said...

MaryBeth: I mean, sacrifice your literary freedom for the preservation of family peace and congenial confidentiality.

Take a notpad and pen to any gathering of people: a party, tavern, family get together, whatever.

Start writing, in the midst of mingling. People will be uncomfortable. Speech is okay, but writing is taboo. You are expected to talk, but they frown upon inscriptions.


Because they fear that you are writing something bad or unflattering about *them*. This natural conditioned paranoia makes them hostile and defensive.

Same with blogging.

Tell your best friend you blog, and the first question will probably be: "What have you said about me?"

Tell your best friend you're writing a novel. First question: "Am I in it?"

I hate it when I always have to say "No" to them, in reference to both my literary pursuits and my technical blogs.

"No, you're not interesting enough, but I still like you as a person. But no, I haven't written anything about you. It's a novel. Unreal. Fictional characters, based on nobody, pure imagination, see?", I say to all inquiring minds.

timjoe said...

seldom because the object of journalism is to inform, not engage in a dialogue with the reader.
vaspers wrote:
How often did you receive mail or phone calls, in response to your journalism?

steven edward streight said...

timjoe via email:


where do i find it? one of the vtg archives?

p.s. i sent this to your inbox because it's such a burdensome process to dialogue on a blog!...go to the blog site, try to remember which post you've got a dialogue going on, respond in the box, wait until the moderation process is complete...sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh!

know what i mean?

RE my asking him:

What do you think of the Roblimo article I quoted about "Online newspapars need comments"?


Vaspers replies:

What are you comparing a blog to? email?

Actually blog comments are far more effective a communication channel than email, and I've written at length on this topic in my archives.

I have to categorize my archives so users can access the posts by topic, rather than month.

A huge project, but I have to do it soon. I'll create posts backdated, that will contain links to posts categorized by topic. A real labor intensive project.

I'll need some winky wink to get through it all.

steven edward streight said...


"Online Newspapers Need Reader Comments"

is the title, and it was just about 8 to 12 posts (days) ago, within the December 2005 archives.

It's funny. I like email and blog comments, but I don't like telephone conversations, in fact I hate the phone. Don't even like talking to my wife on the phone.

I feel closer to people via email and blog comments than I do on the phone, oddly enough.