03 December 2013

What is blogging these days?

I've been blogging since it went mainstream in 2004. Over the years it has remained an important part of the web, giving voice to a very large range of interesting people and ideas.

I've been asked to talk about blogging with the Ambassadors at the Summer Foundation today.

The Summer Foundation and their ambassadors advocate for young people living in nursing homes, building support and capacity for improving lives. Jason Anderson is one of their members and is already blogging as an ambassador for the effort.

But how do we talk about blogging these days?

Recently, blogging seems to have merged into the background as web services like Youtube, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter have become central channels for authors and audience alike. I suspect this recent shift is still taking place, so who knows what "blogging" will be a few years from now... whatever is becomes, I hope it will be as great as the last 10 years.

What is Blogging
The Wikipedia article on Blogging is pretty good. Don't forget to check out the Discussion page behind that WIkipedia entry too.

Here's an old Common Craft video explaining blogs.

Setting up and Linking up
The way I approach Blogging is by setting up accounts on a range of channels, and linking them all up so my articles generally go out across them all with one click - no double handling.

For example, when I press 'publish' on this blog post here in Blogger, it will be automatically posted on my Google+ profile, which is set to cross post to my Twitter handle, which is set to update my Facebook wall. This takes a bit of setting up, but it's a set-and-forget - that is, until one of the parts breaks.
  1. Blogger is owned by Google, so the cross posting to Google+ is taken care of.
  2. I currently use ManageFilter to connect Google+ to Twitter.
  3. Twitter and Facebook have integrated their services too.

I also have a Youtube channel, and that posts into Google+ when I upload new videos. I have a Flickr account for my photos, and that is set up to send copies into Facebook and Twitter, but so far I haven't worked out how to get them into Google+.. so I'm posting photos mainly to Google+ now. 

If you check out the dates on the articles I post to this Blog, you'll notice a definite decline in frequency. That's because of microblogging, I think.

Microblogs are very short posts, usually on services like Twitter, Facebook or Google+, and usually relaying a link to something of interest - sometimes with a brief comment included.

For me, I regularly post links and comments to Google+, which in turn updates my Twitter page and Facebook wall. So, more and more, I have less of a reason to update this old-school blog...

That brings me to the most important bit about blogging - reading. It is MOST important because reading blogs helps you write a blog. If you're reading the blogs of people in your interest areas, this will obviously give you ideas for your own blogging, and an awareness of where you fit in. If you comment on people's blogs, they may start reading your blog, and this will eventually connect you with a network of other people online, which will be important if need help, advice, perspective, or getting your message out. 

But reading so many blogs can take a chunk of time, and you want to be sure they're interesting! Have you ever been on the train and wondered what all those people are doing on their phones? Some of them are reading through their list of blogs.

Old school blogs like this one have a file attached to them called an RSS feed. You can subscribe to a site's RSS feed using an RSS Reader. Sadly, Google closed down their Google Reader, effectively killing off a massive slab of people using RSS Readers, driving them to rely on Google+ and Facebook even more. I still maintain an RSS reader through the service called Feedly. It's not as good as Google Reader (RIP) and I find myself scanning through it less and less these days, but when I do I'm reminded how valuable RSS feeds are - they carry in so many incredible ideas!

Over to Common Craft one last time, to explain RSS

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