Blogs – The wave of the future?

Posted: 01/09/2010 in Week 4

We had an interesting talk today in class which I feel needs to be addressed in order to be properly looked at and discussed.

I feel that while the ‘blog’ is a great social tool and a welcomed addition into the Web 2.0 family, I feel that sooner or later that the blog will be surpassed by facebook/twitter as the outlet for social interaction, if it hasn’t already passed. These are my arguments FOR the deconstruction of blogs as a social medium.

1. They reach a select audience

Yes, it is true, as much as bloggers do not like to admit it! Ask yourself how do people get it ‘out there’ into the social world that they have a ‘blog’? Do I hear you say social mediums such as twitter, mypace and facebook? Well if you did then I would be right in my analogy then wouldn’t I?

2. Beware the FACEless blogger

End of the day, bloggers are anonymous! Facebookers are less likely to be anonymous, therefore what they may put on their site, might be more legitimate than on a blog, and besides if you don’t know the person your adding, then don’t add them.

3. Facebook HAS a blog site!

Yes, Facebook already has a blog site attached to its site, so you don’t even need to blog on an external site anymore, you can get your fix right on facebook.

4. Wiki’s are better

Ok I’m biased, but I find wiki’s to be a much better option than blogs, blogs are great but you can only do so much on it, and people can only ‘comment’ on your blog, Wiki’s are better Web 2.0 tools because they allow collaboration!

Let’s see: if any one can master a blog, it means any one can have a blog and write whatever he or she has in mind: a dream, a recipe, a funny story about a cat, a poem, a diary, a sleazy comment about another person, porn, hateful remarks and more. Hey, it’s a free world! But, because there are so many bloggers out there, it’s rather difficult to find quality blogs. – http://ezinearticles.com/?Blogging—Pros-and-Cons&id=275144

This remark is very true about blogs, there are some proberbial expletive ‘crap’ blogs out there. These blogs are what we like to call splogs.

A spam blog, sometimes referred to by the neologism splog,[1] is a blog which the author uses to promote affiliated websites, to increase the search engine rankings of associated sites or to simply sell links/ads.

The purpose of a splog can be to increase the PageRank or backlink portfolio of affiliate websites, to artificially inflate paid ad impressions from visitors (see MFA-blogs), and/or use the blog as a link outlet to sell links or get new sites indexed. Spam blogs are usually a type of scraper site, where content is often either inauthentic text or merely stolen (see blog scraping) from other websites. These blogs usually contain a high number of links to sites associated with the splog creator which are often disreputable or otherwise useless websites. – Wikipedia

After blogging about how bad blogs are, I feel the need to rebutt my own statement, here are some great blogs for your perusal.

http://www.westhamtillidie.com/

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/

http://www.techtrot.com/primepress/

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/

Also I feel abliged to tell you how to create a GREAT blog!

Writing great content for your blog is only half the battle. A blog is a success if it has loyal followers who read, interact and share the posts that you create (see right- a tiny snapshot of Blogging Tip’s engaged Twitter followers!). This boils down to improving your blog engagement. Take a look at these 50 examples to learn more….

The Basics

Be useful:
1. Official Google Blog – breaks news about google as well as helpful advice on how to use its services.
Example post: Introducing Google Chrome
2. Lifehacker- tips and downloads for getting things done
Example post: Lifehacker’s 2009 Gift Guide, for the Lifehacker-Type in Your Life
3. GoMediaZine- real world advice from working artists and designers.
Example post: Create a Dream Design with 3D Typography

Respond:
4. Prime Press- Ravi is incredibly helpful in the comments for the blog about his WordPress theme- just have a look at how often he appears in the comments of the example post below. He even went so far as to create a forum to respond to questions about Prime Press.
Example post: Setting up the WordPress static homepage
5. Blogstorm- Patrick is great at responding to queries of the online marketing persuasion in the comments of his blog.
Example post: WordPress crawl rate tracker

Keep it short:
6. Seth Godin - Seth’s blog doesn’t really need any introduction. He knows that marketers are busy people, and most of his posts take two minutes to read without compromising on quality and usefulness.
Example post: The first transaction
7. Copyblogger Similarly, many of the most popular posts on copyblogger are short and to the point.
Example post: Become a better writer

Be regular:
8. Post Secret- every Sunday, without fail. There are lots of loyal post secret fans who look forward to seeing this week’s selection of secretive postcards over their Sunday breakfast.
Example post: Sunday Secrets
9. Daily Tips- clue’s in the name: daily tips for everyone. Bound to do wonders for your return visits!
Example post: Ear ache relief
10. Daily Soccer Blog- as above, keep those soccer fans returning to your site day after day after day….
Example post: Sacking in Scotland – Who’s Next?

Engaging Content

Be personal:
11. Dooce- Heather B. Armstrong famously got fired for blogging about her company on her site. Since then she’s become a full time professional blogger and continues her candid journey.
Example post: My Old Man
12. Generation Y- stories from Cuba by Yoani Sánchez. She describes her blog as “an exercise in cowardice” as she writes about stuff that she couldn’t talk about in her civic life. The blog is banned in Cuba.
Example post: Promises
13. The Pioneer Woman- writes about her life on a cattle ranch (and her past life eating sushi in the city). Addictive stuff.
Example post: Weaning Wild Colts

Ask for comments:
14. The Telegraph - who would’ve thought it? That the pinnacle of British journalistic reporting should care what we, the mob, think? Turns out, they do! (Even if it is only the fashion section…)
Example post: What do you think of Alexander McQueen’s monster shoes
15. The Conscience of a Liberal As above- another professional journalist asking for our opinion in the comments.
Example post: Just the usual disaster

Be controversial:
16. TechCrunch- notoriously controversial in what it chooses to publish, Techcrunch certainly knows how to get people checking back to see the latest scandal unfurl.
Example post: Twitter Hacked
17. Perez Hilton- takes no prisoners when it comes to posting controversial content about celebrities.
Example post: Tiger Paid For Ho’s Lipo And Other Juicy Goodness!
18. Mental Floss- posting regularly on more intellectually controversial subjects than the two above. Great way to engage readers.
Example post: 3 Controversial Maps

Reviews:
19. Becky’s Books Reviews- Let your readers know you care by reviewing whatever and helping them choose what to invest in. A great trust builder if you get it right.
Example post: Dani Noir
20. Rotten Tomatoes- as above, this time with movies. Extra points as users actually contribute most of the reviews
Example post: Twilight reviews

Images:
21. Boston big picture- hi-res, regular photos, usually of current events. A winner combination and one that will keep users returning again and again.
Example post: Olympic Torch Relay
22. PDN Photo of the Day- one incredible photo per day.
Example post: Jim Mason, Medicine Man
23. PhotoPosts- a site that handily combines a whole load of photoblogs for its usrs to enjoy.
Example post: Cao Dei

Use your users

Citizen reporting/crowd sourcing:
24. The Guardian- not really a blog, but a great example of an online authority getting its users in an important process.
Example post: MP’s Expenses
25. Wired Journalists- collaborative journalism at its finest.
Example post: Google Wave and Journalism
26. We The Media- grass roots journalism that seeks to defy the ‘Big Media’ and turn reporting into a conversation rather than a lecture.
Example post: Serious Ad Money

Submissions:
27. Detention Slip- Asks teachers to send in their most “outrageous, ridiculous, and over the top DETENTION SLIPS!” for feature on the site and possible inclusion in a book.
Example post: Sign up to the newsletter to receive the best submissions.
28. i can haz cheezburger?- Submit, lol-it and then await the votes.
Example post- Chiropractic kitteh

Guest posts:
29. Four Hour Work Week- really great guest post set up, with a short introduction to make the guest feel welcome and the readers feel like they’ve just been treated.
Example post: guest post from Eric Ries
30. Blogging Bits- Nice ‘n straight forward.
Example post: guest post from Matt Harzewski
31. Blogging Tips- a permanent page that welcomes guest posters on a range of blogging topics.
Example post: This one!

Poll/opinion on a change:
32. Guardian’s Tech Blog- posts a query each week and the best comments are excerpted and published.
Example post: You decide: should you let someone else in your company use your password
33. Wired- Regular polls on hotly debated topics
Example post: Would you pay 99 cents p/m for unlimited Pandora?
34. Mashable- Weekly lunchtime polls
Example post:Top 10 Facebook Apps

Rewards, Incentives:

Competitions
35. VW Camper Van blog- these guys seem to hold a fair few competitions- the one below encourages users to submit a photo and then vote.
Example post: Reader’s Ride of the Year
36. Blurb Blog- Hold regular book competitions. The below example has the added extra of downloadable vote-for-me badges- your secret competition weapon when it comes to building inbound links.
Example post: People’s Choice Voting
37. Murray Newlands- this affiliate marketing blog has a whole page dedicated to current contests.
Example post: YouTube Film Contest

Comment competitions:
38. New Scientist- Ran a competition to win a piece of moon rock. Very low barrier to entry as users just had to leave a comment!
Example post: Moon Rock!
39. Read Write Web- a one-off competition that openly stated its purpose as a means to encourage quality comments.
Example: Comments Competition

Star system:
40. SEOmoz- Lots of friendly rivalry to become the Top Member on the blog.
Example: Top Ranked Members
41. Ice Caves- Top Commenters Competition held monthly with profile badges as rewards.
Example: Top Commenters Competition

Offsite

Facebook
42. Mashable- Facebook blog profiles are often undernourished and unloved. Not so with Mashable.
Example: Mashable on Facebook
Twitter
43. Geek Parent- Step one: have a great blog. Step two: have an even better Twitter account to spread the love.
Example: Twitter- Mike T Rose
Social media sites
44. Cracked- a lot of the big blogs have a regular presence on social media sites without even trying, but Cracked goes one step further and plays to the crowd.
Example post: Digg this

Take it offline

Events
45. Distilled- a London based internet marketing agency with a popular blog (Disclaimer: I worked for them), who recently held a Pro Training Seminar in London and then posted updates and content.
Example post: Pro Training Seminar Overview
46. Techcrunch- run a very popular offline conference that complements their blog.
Example: Techcrunch50
47. CAFOD blog- you don’t have to run the whole event, just a visible attendance will do wonders for your offline blog engagement.
Example: Climate change: From Bangladesh to The Wave

Blogger meetup
48. NetSquared- ‘Net Tuesdays’ provide a chance to connect locally with all those interested in the intersection of social technologies and social change
Example: Net2 Local
50. London Bloggers- host London bloggers meetups.
Example: Christmas Bloggers Meetup
50. Vimeo- hold regular free offline film screenings
Example: Vimeo Offline

This referenced piece was written by Lucy Langdon. This information and many more can be found on http://www.bloggingtips.com/

To finish up this I WILL tell you in my opinion what the great wave of the future will be….

Better yet i’ll show you

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/special_eds/20070319/

The program is called ‘Second Life’ and it will revolutionise the way we interact, shop, make money, go to school and revolutionise society, welcome to Avatar!


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