I’ve been reading Hugh Hewitt’s book called Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation. Published in 2004, it’s already old when it comes to naming the most popular blogs and opinion influencers. However, as for understanding the foundation and background of blogging as the tsunami of information influence, he is dead on.
Hewitt’s book Blog is a feast for the writer-turned-blogger and the wannabe. It not only explains how now is the best time to start and maintain a blog but also describes the potential power, influence, and plain old fun of blogging.
However, it’s not just informational. It’s inspirational.
I started this blog, Notes from the Trail, in September of 2005. It was on the 10th of that month that I opened a Typepad account and began posting stuff that I’d written in the past. I posted things I’d written in high school, college, and other essays and poems. I began to carve out a niche for myself on the net, and soon discovered that my years of journaling had prepared me to become an almost-daily blogger.
I knew next to nothing about HTML, PHP or web design at the time. I could barely squeak by. However, when people began interacting with my writing – in comments on my blog and via email, I knew that this medium held immense promise for relational impact and skill development. I was “all in.”
I moved my blogging platform to a self-hosted WordPress format and have never looked back.
Hewitt says that the blogosphere is a place where you can “peddle your text wares.” There have been many instances in the past three years that all I’ve felt like I’ve done in blogging is “peddling.” Spinning my wheels comes to mind. It’s that uncomfortable sense that all the mind investment, creative wording, and research is simply going down a black hole. It’s the old “nobody likes me; everybody hates me; I’ll think I’ll go out back and eat some worms” routine.
Then one day, you realize that you’re emailing and conversing with people that you would never have met if you hadn’t begun blogging. Here are a few for me: Richard, Andy, Tim, Scott, Sunny, Alan, Grant, Wade, Ed, Shelley, Rosjuane, Kenny, TeamPyro, Mark, Terry, John and.. well, you get the picture (and please forgive me if you didn’t get mentioned!).
On the other hand, I can also count multiple folks that may have been influenced to begin blogging by my pitiful attempts. I don’t want to list them, because I might embarrass myself when they comment that I had nothing to do with it. (If I have helped, inspired your blogging though, I’d love to hear about it!)
Since 2005, I also began and have since sold a community website called MonticelloLive.com which is getting astounding traffic only two years after its creation – well over 2000 visitors a day (for a town of 9000) and more than 4000 pageviews per day.
All that to say.. Hewitt’s book did not convince me of the power and benefits of blogging – both personal and professional (I was already convinced). However, it has caused me to significantly rethink how I blog – and what I blog about. If you’re a frequenter of Notes from the Trail, you’ll know that I blog about the same random topics, depending on the time of the year: faith in Jesus Christ, church, Apple computers and iPhones, technology and internet, relationships, fantasy football, and home happenings.
I assign every story a “category” (forgive me for being basic if you’re a blogger extraordinaire) for filing and finding purposes. My categories were created to stick with the “trail” theme and have always been called:
- Parchments – for books I’m reading or have reviewed
- Homestead Happenings – stuff around the house with wifey and kids
- Campfire Talk – rarely used, but intended for heart-to-hearts
- Church Chew – entries about Christianity and church
- Goin’ to Town – for technology and city-type stuff
- Shootn the Bull – for general silliness
- Spiritual Markers – for entries about faith and spirituality
All of the above have suited me well for the past three years, but as I consider some of Hewitt’s observations, I realize that… (to be continued)