This article will cover the social path to blogging but it wasn’t originally intended that way…
Do you ever have periods where you are inspired to write something quite spectacular and yet by the time you reflect on it you can’t push the button? There may be something contentious in that piece that breaks one of your principles. A character assassination perhaps or some descending spiral of darkness, a depth that should not be plumbed.
I’ve written a piece along that line recently and I have to step back and reshape it because it can’t see the light of day. So I’m going to carve the good parts from that post and bring you a warmer plate of goodness, mostly because in my olden days of writing, I’d be stupid and blast it out without a thought.
Whether you feel I have succumbed to the shackles of a “Politically Correct” restriction then fear not. I do speak out about things I don’t like from time to time. My calamitous Apple purchase of an iPhone 5C this year in a post entitled The Apple Based Disaster provided by Herman was one such outburst. I also took on Candy Crush and my thoughts on how they introduce at risk addictive personalities to the ills of gambling at an early age with this post. Finally I observed SEOClerks and an upsurge in underhand black hat techniques with this post. I don’t mind courting with danger every so often because even though those rant posts don’t quite get the mileage they deserve, it feels liberating writing on the subjects that bug me the most.
Leading me to my gripe…
I had written something about a site I follow and about a person on that site who I both like and hate in equal measure. Something about their ego has exploded over the months and they have become a monster. There’s a saying that goes;
First impressions count
I was handed the rough end after my excitement at being given the opportunity to ask a question and that has shaped my thoughts ever since. I take what I can from this person but I do so with a mild contempt nowadays. This person took a mild interest in my site but has never offered true “support” in the dictionary definition. Not even a friendly comment. Rubbish.
But I digress….
To add the cherry to the pie I’m going to be talking about social interaction. Being social is where you should be at if you want to expand your audience with blogging. There’s no big secret in that and no secret formula.
More social = more views + more engagement
A way to socialise
My social skills need improvement whether they be online or offline. In this age of information, being able to “present” and “represent” are two important skills. I’ve had social problems in my life, I’m not afraid to admit. I’ve always been awkward with my fellow man and woman alike. Maybe its a lack of confidence or just being a quiet person, happy with my own thoughts.
With blogging I’m forced to write for others whilst trying to remove myself from self-indulgence and egocentric musings.
This leads me to..
What are the goals of being social?
- Being seen as an equal.
- Having some of our ideas (but not all) shared or respected.
- Teaching others some tips or shortcuts that might help them to a small (or great) extent.
- A collective identity, being viewed as part of the club, part of the matrix.
- Fighting for a cause (even if we look stupid) and defending a principle.
- Telling a story.
- Having a good laugh (preferably not at someone else’s expense).
- Leaning on others for some sympathy.
Being goal orientated we are forced to think about what goals we can shape from how we go about our daily business. Being social is an intrinsic part of most jobs even if only a few words are said.
Being social comes with positives and negatives..
What are some of the side effects of being social?
- Idiots – the people who say dumb things. A welling anger fills our proud bellies, raises an eyebrow or just makes us throw a shoe at the screen.
- A feeling of growing ineptitude, one that grows from looking at those doing better than us, measuring the shortfall and declaring despair.
- A growing paranoia that whilst some people are watching us with no agenda there are some watching us waiting to post a dead pigeon through our inbox at any given time.
- A dull ache from an unhealthy sparring with someone who has taken exception to something we wrote, our general demeanour or at complete random. This is the dreaded “backlash” we dislike receiving. We like to be diplomatic in the information age, try to come out on top whilst pacifying the situation but with some people we just can’t win. The back foot will always feel like the back foot.
These concerns leave an imprint and often may make you go about your daily business in different ways with different agents and environments. You become more cautious about what you do and what you say. You become a “pleaser”, that maggot you hoped you’d never become.
So what does being social have to do with blogging?
Most of the jobs to do on the Internet involve a conversation with someone at some point whether that be a customer, peer, employer, employee, friends, family or strangers. Being social is essential as it is in any normal job. In fact it is more important because there are a number of ways to be social which drives a demand for a mixed skill set.
- Blogging – Blogging differs to normal writing by being broken up more with a high move towards readability over depth. Often it is stuffed with graphics, links and other media content. Sometimes it is designed to incorporate a sell.
- Videos – The ultimate media tool now more accessible to all. You are being asked to become a presenter, maybe write a script and more.
- Email – Always important, often needing to be tempered by a cautious hand and a restrained heart.
- Web chat – rapid but open to wasting time.
- Copy – the staple of marketeers and now something an entrepreneur has to contend with. Copy is perhaps less easy to write, shorter in form but important to make a sale, it has to be pinpoint accurate and dance hard. Copy doesn’t have to be for monetary gain, it can be for campaigns of other forms as well.
- Video chat/conference – a very intimate way of making person to person contact. All the benefits of chat with the addition of seeing whether someone is lying or not.
- Documentation – because sometimes a guide needs to be written or a report needs to be drafted.
Building skill to handle all of these elements “professionally” takes time and perseverance. Everybody has a different personal method of expression and favour some methods over others. It doesn’t really matter how we get to the end zone as long as those skills we prefer are strong.
So why is quality blogging hard to achieve?
- Pure numbers and critical mass.
Why are pure numbers important to achieve?
Some key ratings are decided upon by the search engines. Mass computations determine the most relevant data often by weight of number. Invariably writing skill has nothing to do with it, often it’s how many people you know, if you know enough people who will look at your output and do something social with it, the search engines will reward you.
Critical mass on the other hand is the point of convergence required to be doing well enough to attract those big audiences. It is the tipping point where you go from Average Joe to Super Hero.
Why is Critical mass important to me as a blogger?
Critical mass as a scientific concept is as follows:
The amount of fissile material needed to sustain nuclear fission.
Equating that theory to blogging we could look at the amount of effort required to rise above the hyper competition. Hyper competition in the Internet is growing, thus such a level is difficult to attain. You are in a market where new entrants have no barrier to entry and where organisations such as Google add a layer of complexity to how you are graded.
Your Net Worth – Boom boom!
What paths of blogging affect our eventual success?
The Social Path to Blogging vs the Introverted Path
There are two paths to take with blogging. I deem one to be the Social Path where you actively seek to share your work with a community and interact with others. This doesn’t have to be for money, it could just be for making friends with similar viewpoints, or shouting about a cause close to your heart that you think others can take something from. You could be an Artist, Musician or Author trying to broaden your audience. In essence what you do is built to share.
- This path involves a community.
- It is not just for your indulgence.
- What you produce has enriching value to someone other than yourself.
In contrast the Introverted Path serves a different purpose. Some people use blogs as ways of keeping a journal and they may do so privately or in public. You may be keeping a scientific record or notes to your studies. The introverted path is self-sustaining, you don’t care if people view your stuff or not, this is something for you and if it inadvertently helps someone else out then that’s a bonus. You may have intended for it to be public once upon a time but it no longer serves the public. If it is privately retained nobody will see it and you are okay with that (but are you?).
- This path doesn’t involve a community. (but may become available to the wider public)
- It is entirely for self-indulgence.
- You only serve yourself.
But is it all clear-cut?
Are there shades of grey in the paths of Blogging?
There has proved to be sliding scales between the level of male and female that a person can be. This is why androgynous (barely any signs of gender) and hermaphrodite males and females (with both organs) exist. A lot of this is down to hormones, specifically Testosterone and Oestrogen, which shape the gender of a foetus in early development.
This scale exists for the level of social or introverted blogger you can be.
Q: Is it possible to be Social and Introverted?
A: Of course it is!
If you want to do well in blogging, to reach audiences and share knowledge, you have to be social. If you don’t care you will stay introverted. With Blogging normally the decision gets made for you. People don’t read your content because your are not being social and before long you are writing for yourself. Eventually you will stop.