Saturday, April 26, 2014

Blogging a Way of Life

It is good to have an online presence with a blog that is under one’s own name. The strength of it is that it provides the connection I need with the rest of the world. It is indeed the best thing I ever did to myself in the age of electronic media technologies.

The weakness, however, is that I have not updated the blog entries for months. I feel terrible for neglecting the blog: www.stevenswindow.blogspot.com. The blog has given me an excellent presence in the electronic media world since 2008.

In her book, The Wow Factor (2010), Frances Cole Jones makes an important point about internet presence in our lives.

“Even a few years ago, having a personal presence online was seen at best a luxury and at worst an eccentricity. These days, it’s essential. If you can’t be Googled, you don’t exist. Given this, as you begin to think about technology, it is critical for you—whether you work in a corporate environment or not—to have a blog or personal website of your own; not doing so signals to employers and customers that you are out of touch with modern rhythms.”

There are people who prefer to remain untouched, but against such logic, the ever changing world of electronic media waits for no one and carries no blame for changing societies in the world.

“And least you think that only companies are online,” writes Jones in her book, “or that people exclusively discuss ‘business’ there, a recent poll by the blog search engine Technorati that covered almost thirteen hundred bloggers about personal interests, 46 percent blog about their industry or profession (but not in an official capacity), and only 12 percent blog on behalf of their companies.”

So what is a blog? Jones explains:

“A blog is a Web-based commentary site, usually written in a first-person, conversational manner about just anything you can imagine, and displayed in reverse chronological order. It can (and I recommend it should) include text, pictures, and links to videos, news items, etc. that interest, annoy, or inspire you. Done well, they offer an incredibly effective yet low-cost way to establish a basic Web presence, to build up your personal brand visibility, and to enhance your credibility. “

 The best way to develop and manage your own blog is to follow the advice given below. There are a number of free sites to get you started, like http://wordpress.com, www.blogger.com/, or home spaces.live.com/. Wiki Blog even has a free eight step video entitled: “How to Start a Blog” available at http://www.wikihow.com/Start-a-Blog.

Having one’s own blog seems to be the best way forward. Some of the bullet points that Jones used are relevant to a blogger. Jones makes several points that are worth nothing:

  • Use your own voice—don’t write as if there is someone over your shoulder: Authenticity is essential.
  • While you should be honest and open, you should also be respectful of your subjects and your audiences: no insults, no profanity. Keep criticism to a minimum.
  • Link to those who interest or influence you; the more you reference, and have links to and on your blog, the stronger your presence will be within the blogosphere.
  • If you’re blogging specifically about your business, don’t treat blogging like advertising—it’s a conversation, not a sermon. For that reason, make sure that you listen and respond to the feedback you receive. Also don’t simply post reviews and/or press releases.
  • If you work for a company, and are discussing that industry, find out (and stick to) your company’s blogging policy.
  • Having your name and your product/company’s name in the URL generally means Google will index it higher with respect to rank.
  • Once you begin it, it’s important to keep it fairly current. I’m not saying you have to update it daily—or even weekly. But I wouldn’t let more than two to three weeks by without saying something.

As a serious blogger I am guilty of ignoring the last point. I should have done something about it, but I had unnecessarily ignored that responsibility to the point where it is almost a year since I posted something new to the blog.

In the next advice that Jones hurls at the serious blogger I am all eyes and ears.

“What keeps people coming back to your blog? Content they can use. The more your blog includes essential/inside information and/or quirky/funny anecdotes they can’t get elsewhere, the more likely they are to return.”

Friends on my Facebook page will note that I have followed the next advice.

“Once you have your blog established, link it to your LinkedIn, Facebook, My Space, Twitter, etc, profiles. They all have spaces where URLs can be added to your personal information.”

I have created two blogs and administrated them for some time. A lot the postings I made are from this column. In some sense I wanted to capture the readers who may not have access to the hardcopy in The National newspaper. The targeted audience is one that is linked through the electronic medium. The aim was to have as many people read what I wrote initially for the “Steven’s Window” column in the newspaper.

The education and research value of the blog is something I cannot under-estimate as I often direct the students studying my courses in Literature to use the blog as a learning resource.

Recently I submitted an article on “Blogging in PNG” as my contribution to a book on contemporary ethnography of the Pacific to be published by the University of Hawaii Press. A bit of what I wrote in that essay was the following:

Information media technologies helped connect Papua New Guineans in complex ways. Blogging: an information technology experience is a transformative one for the Papua New Guineans who took up the challenge in the last 10 or more years. “

The arrival of the Internet technology impacted the way Papua New Guineans do things, send, and receive information.

I encourage you to start your own blog.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoy reading this. Thanks for sharing. oh and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    ReplyDelete