When I started blogging, back in 2001, blogs were unknown to the majority of people. Some of the blogs I read back then were authored by people who didn’t call them blogs. People like Jeffrey Zeldman or Stowe Boyd. They were just using what they had to express themselves, probably not aware that they were the first messengers of a cultural change. We were ahead of our time.
I started out with GreyMatter, switched to Movable Type and now I have two other blogs running, one on Wordpress. I am also considering ExpressionEngine as a third option. But it was never about technology.
Even back in 2001, we started to realize it was all about content. Mind you, it was the era before Facebook and YouTube.
Publishing is about creating relationships
After blogging came micro blogging, with Tumblr, later Soup.io and now Posterous. While Six Apart drifted away with their now defunct VOX, I focussed more and more on status messages, on the Twitter phenomenon and I used every channel I could find to experiment with publishing. It was no longer only about content, at least not long articles. It was about the spark, the immediate thought.
I began to see the relations between all these things, how they function and what makes people use them, without ever thinking how they work. And I realized that success for these tools is strongly dependent on certain patterns.
Publishing is now completely independent of power, money, influence as starting points. Anyone can publish anything. What makes some publishers more successful, what gains them more popularity, are a number of factors.
Tips for successful publishing
- Tailor your content to the language of your audience
- Quote, cite, copy, repost, retweet. But add to it. Take the original thought, the idea, the essence, learn, pick it up and make it your own message
- Make it short, concise and consumable
- Spark the interest of your audience with something. Which can be anything, from an unusual idea to a surprising conclusion
- Be afraid of meaningless content
- Don’t worry about backing up every thought, unless you’re writing your thesis
- Make it easy to get involved in conversations about the topic (Comments)
I might have forgotten something. If that is the case, feel free to comment.
If I had followed these rules, I would have been a much more successful author. I focussed on other things, to make a living, because I couldn’t afford to just exist by writing. I would, if that would be an option.
The show must go on
However, I don’t intend to be defeated. I believe in the relevant thought, ideas and learnings that will bring us forward, that will change things. Change has always been my friend. I saw it coming and going, and I always benefitted from it in terms of learning and realization of the psychology behind it. So I will keep going and pick up my blog where I abandoned it a couple of months ago. It doesn’t matter if this disconnection happens again. If I have to repeat the process, I will.
I am just like my fellow bloggers. We are very human. We strive for success, for improvements, for recognition and for love. That can only be achieved with change and expression of ourselves.
I am personally most driven by the exciting feeling of “getting something”. Be it behavior patterns, social intelligence, networking theory, the rules of publishing… It all comes down to communication, the major change in our evolution. This is where I am coming from and where I will always be heading for.