Blogging: do try this at home: the perils, pitfalls, and rewards of starting your own blog.The flavor of the moment for everyone from the editorial page editor to the sports reporter is to launch a blog. It is a good idea, but there's a lot more to keeping up with the blogs than access to blogging software and ideas for good posts.
The two most important words to remember when launching or building a blog is "people talking." That is all blogs are--a conversation. The trick is learning to see the conversation as it is spread across multiple sites and adapt your written communication to the style of a conversation.
Define your blogosphere The total universe of blogs. See blog.
It helps to know who the people in the room are. A quick way to do that is with a technorati.com search for the basic URL URL
in full Uniform Resource Locator
Address of a resource on the Internet. The resource can be any type of file stored on a server, such as a Web page, a text file, a graphics file, or an application program. of your editorial page. You should be able to find a list of blogs that have responded to your editorials in recent weeks. (If you don't find enough, search your site's main URL, and you'll at least find some blogs that are responding to local news stories.)
An easy way to track each blog's URL is in a custom bloglines.com site you can register for. Every day you can go to bloglines and quickly see what people are talking about. If you're lucky enough to live in a city or state where BlogNetNews.com has opened up, you can use it for the same purpose.
Jump into the conversation
Editorial page blogs don't have to be the place where conversations start. In fact, when you're starting a blog or if your blog isn't getting much attention, you're better off trying to horn in Verb 1. horn in - search or inquire in a meddlesome way; "This guy is always nosing around the office"
nose, poke, pry, intrude
search, look - search or seek; "We looked all day and finally found the child in the forest"; "Look elsewhere for the perfect gift!" on the conversations already under way. Take a stab at the comments on a blog that's talking about something you might write about. Ask questions rather than argue.
Whatever reaction you get, you're sending an important signal. The chip you may have noticed on the collective blogosphere shoulder is the feeling that newspaper opinion-types are a smidge Smidge
Small amount of price, usually +/- 1/8 or 1/4. ivory tower ivory tower
A place or attitude of retreat, especially preoccupation with lofty, remote, or intellectual considerations rather than practical everyday life. , while the blogs are nobly egalitarian e·gal·i·tar·i·an
Affirming, promoting, or characterized by belief in equal political, economic, social, and civil rights for all people. . Hanging out in the comments is a good way to dispel an ivory tower rep.
In your own posts, you don't have to start the conversation either. Another nod that you're just another blog egalitarian is to respond to blogs that make interesting arguments in your own posts. Just the way verbal cues work in a real conversation, hyperlinks to another blog hook you into the conversation and give your amateur colleagues an electronic signal to respond.
Adapt your writing and reporting
Coming from life on an editorial page, it is easy to think of blog posts as mini-editorials, but that's a mistake. Just as a conversation never takes place in one bite, blogging doesn't either. Theories, guesses, half-formed reactions, questions, and insinuations all work in the blogging context where they'd never work as an editorial; they're the kind of places a conversation can start.
A full-fledged argument with a beginning, middle, and end can come across as a lecture in blog land--that middle and end should really come as future bits of conversation. Think about the people with whom you most enjoy talking and you'll notice they let you talk--back and forth is where it is at. Some pieces might fit in your own comment section responding to a reader, some might be a future post on your site linking to another blogger.
Of course there's always the times for the big argument, just as there is when you're talking to Noun 1. talking to - a lengthy rebuke; "a good lecture was my father's idea of discipline"; "the teacher gave him a talking to"
rebuke, reprehension, reprimand, reproof, reproval - an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to real people. It shouldn't be the norm.
Build a better blogosphere
The blogosphere everyone talks about is the land of Little Green Footballs and Daily Kos Daily Kos (IPA: /koʊs/) is an American political blog, publishing news and opinion from a progressive point of view. where extremists go after each other with axes and civil words are never exchanged. That place ain't never gonna gon·na
Contraction of going to: We're gonna win today. change. But a local blogosphere is a smaller, quieter place, and the steady hand of an editorial page editor who watches the social dynamics Social dynamics is the study of the ability of a society to react to inner and outer changes and deal with its regulation mechanisms. Social dynamics is a mathematically inspired approach to analyse societies, building upon systems theory and sociology. can nurture something better.
Never underestimate the power of rewarding the good. Put the thoughtful local blogs on your blogroll. The blogosphere is an attention economy, and links are what send blogs new visitors. Make sure that your definition of thoughtful includes some critics. If you can't find any that fight with facts and not flame, pick the few you think have hope. Use links in your posts or a weekly best-of-the-blogs posts to reward the better angels of the blogosphere, too.
And then there's the real world. Just like you love to sit down and converse (logic) converse - The truth of a proposition of the form A => B and its converse B => A are shown in the following truth table:
A B | A => B B => A ------+---------------- f f | t t f t | t f t f | f t t t | t t with friends you develop over years of NCEW NCEW National Conference of Editorial Writers conventions, be open to bringing your blog relationships into the real world, too. Why not let a couple of bloggers ask questions at an endorsement interview and write their own views on their own blogs? You'll have given those bloggers access and credibility, favors they'll likely remember a good long time that cost you nothing.
So sure, go with the flow and start a blog, but plot out what you're doing and why first. If you start out with some goals and an idea how this weird social world works, you may well find it easier to navigate the perils of blogging as well as you do the problems of editorial writing.
Dave Mastio is the creator of BlogNetNews.com and has written editorials for USA Today USA Today
National U.S. daily general-interest newspaper, the first of its kind. Launched in 1982 by Allen Neuharth, head of the Gannett newspaper chain, it reached a circulation of one million within a year and surpassed two million in the 1990s. , The Washington Examiner, and the Virginian-Pilot.