B – Blog

When I was in college, and answering the question of “what I wanted to do when I grew up,” my answer was inevitably writer or author or something of the type. The follow-up question became “do you have a blog?” Blogs had become the big thing, of a sudden, it seemed. I had written some travel stories, mainly, in a Live Journal… I had joined others in creating fiction on forums… Social Media was just catching its stride with the advent of Facebook… I had competed in NaNoWriMo… but no, I did not have a blog.

After college, there were a number of years where I did little or no writing, and it was during these years it might have been nice to have had a blog. However, even as I started my Master’s and they had us create a blog (the very foundations of this blog here), I did not use this for the writing I could have been doing. You can see a big gap in the archives from the blog’s start, in 2009, and when I later took a course on blogging that had me blogging more in earnest.

B

However, a blog is really more of a delivery method, and also an interface. It’s not a driving force in-and-of itself. Having a blog does not make one write. You can see this in any number of blogs which start up, have some steam, and then just lose it and disappear. Honestly, this blog has looked like that at a number of points in its lifetime.

So the question asking me if I had a blog was like asking if I used Word, or if I shared my fiction on Facebook. It’s about getting known and presence, or about where and how you write. I hope now that people are forming this question more carefully when they ask young students, so they don’t just feel dumb for not having a blog. Because having a blog does not make you a writer. Writing does. Having something to write is what helps you write. And, if you figure out what that something is and it happens to be a blog, make a blog. Look for the right place to blog. I still hold that someday I am going to write fiction and put it on Tumblr. But holding the Tumblr real-estate down has not made me write the stories.

It’s the overall audience-finding, content-creator connection to content-consumer aspect of a blog which is powerful for a writer, and these sorts of benefits can come from good branding and a good social media presence in general. Twitter can be huge, and lots of writers are hanging out there, waiting for you to read their books. Should you have a blog? Maybe. I think the main answer I would give is have a blog if you’re going to write the blog: a blog without content is a webpage. You should maybe have one of those. And blogging, as a public, interactive thing, brings along interactive, social media elements that are important. But be ready for that.

What do you think? Do you need to have a blog as a writer? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Searching Social Media

So an interesting question came up and I learned something. And maybe you can help.

How do you search social media?

Hashtags were added by users – and later adopted by the companies, and have been a growing thing. From their start on Twitter, you can now see and use them on Google+, Tumblr, Facebook, and other places. And of course, there’s the tags on blogs and other things that are user-generated attempts at keywords and searchability. However, even if we assume that what you are looking for are posts where users are self-defining their content – say, with the upcoming Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle this weekend (#eccc) – how do you best search these things?

So with the question came this link, so I can’t say I found it myself: http://guides.library.cornell.edu/socialmedia They don’t necessarily have all the answers, but they did post the important question: Twitter only has the last 10 days searchable! Living in a 140-character world may be bad, but living in a world with a ten-day life-span? That’s really rough. 

 

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#Blog Series Pitch: Social Media Sorcery – The Sunday Re-Blog

Great idea for some posts from a blogger who is trying many things with Social Media right now. Also a lot of conversation in the comments, so definitely check that out as well – and pitch in with your experiences and thoughts!

My Former Blog

I have to create a social media document for my own use, and since I’m seeing interest in that aspect of my blogging, I thought I would pitch it as a series. Here’s a basic outline. Each Roman Numeral represents a post.

I can go one of two ways. I can add it to my list, write it as I need it, and run it as an occasional series for one of our blogs. Or, I can write the whole thing as a single piece, then break it into posts, illustrate them, and shop them as a guest series. I have to write a rough draft-quality version of it sometime soon, anyway, because I need it to analyze what I am doing and improve my game.

I. A short narrative that explains how we started. It will include links to the things we wrote about social media along the way…

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Building a Blogging Community Through Social Media – With Examples

Let’s face it, as much fun as it is to write, and to blog, and to think about the fact that your ideas are public, published, out there… you want readers too. Readers who enjoy what you write, or interact with what you write, or share what you write… or even better, all of the above.

Through the social aspects of blogging, how it works, and realizing we should do for other bloggers what we want done for us… the best followers you will have on a blog are likely going to be other bloggers. With a WordPress blog, for instance, it’s people with WordPress accounts who can “like” your post… who can follow your blog with a click of a button, and then read your posts in their WordPress reader. WordPress – like other blogging communities, like Tumblr – does a great job of letting you connect and share with other bloggers.

So last week I blogged about how I am considering some changes on Comparative Geeks and while informational and data changes like I proposed and discussed can do a bit to network better with other WordPress blogs, there are more channels out there we need to hit as well, and which have different sorts of purposes and users. Though also of course a lot of overlap! But let me look through the Social Media avenues we are using, or considering, to look at some folks I see doing this well, and how we might use it in the future.

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Publicize – Results from my First Test

So, as I mentioned yesterday, I was testing out Publicize on multiple channels. I think the test was pretty successful. The Twitter feed here on the site does not show the post to Twitter, as advertised – which is good, because otherwise you would see the post, with a Tweet next to it telling you the post was there. As I’ve mentioned before, Twitter is less of a reader and more of… something else. One of its better uses being perhaps its ability to feed into other things, like the WordPress sidebar, or Facebook. More on that below.

I ran into one snag: When shared on Tumblr, the blog post then kicked in the automatic share there – effectively, Tumblr’s version of Publicize. This resulted in two Tweets. The one from Tumblr also ended up in the sidebar here on the blog. It looks like my Facebook had been logged out on Tumblr, otherwise I imagine it would have ended up there twice as well. This was easily solved – I have turned off these automatic shares on Tumblr, but am still linked in where I should be able to share when I want to from within Tumblr.

From here, I have some further thoughts on Publicize… check out what I’m thinking, and then maybe let me know your experiences with it! (Also, I have just learned how to embed a tweet: http://en.support.wordpress.com/twitter/twitter-embeds/…)

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