The following is an article I wrote for a site called Network In Austin. It currently appears on their "Resources" Page.
Bloggedy Blog Blawg – Part One
By Thom Singer
“Do you Blog?”
This seems to be the new question that is popping up in business and social circles around town, across the country and throughout the world. A year ago almost nobody, except those who were really hip, had heard of blogs, and now they are one of the hottest topics on the internet.
What is a blog? A blog is a reverse-chronological log that is hosted on the web, or also called a weblog (blog for short). It can be either formal presentation or a random connection of thoughts. It can have posts from one author or many. There can be open commenting from the general public, or strictly just snippets from the blog’s owner. Individuals, companies and political pendants now have blogs, as they are a very easy tool with which to communicate to a wide audience via the web.
Before the 2004 presidential campaign I had never heard of blogs (I guess I am admitting that I am just not terribly hip). During the campaign both Republican and Democrat supporters began to break news (and some fake or fabricated news) on blogs. A lot of information on the Swift Boat Veterans issue and the CBS Memogate stories were put into the public domain, not by the established news media, but rather by the bloggers. For better or worse, these blogs on both sides of the political isle were widely read and they themselves were one of the big stories of the 2004 election.
Following the November elections, the term blog (or is it “blawg”?) has started to become a household term. I would regularly hear people talking about friends who were “blogging” their vacation, or corporate CEO’s who interacted daily with customers via the “company blog”. In March I attended a marketing seminar on blogging. At the start of the program they surveyed the audience about blogs, and most participants, like myself, had never read or written a blog.
That was when I decided I wanted to figure out why someone would blog in the first place. Since I am a frustrated wanna-be writer, I decided to give blogging a try. I am releasing my first book this summer, Some Assembly Required: How to Make, Grow and Keep Your Business Relationships, and decided that if nothing else, a blog was a good way to help search engines, like Yahoo! and Google, find my website. With this in mind, I decide to make the topic of my book, networking and business development, the theme of my blog.
Thus The Business Development / Networking Blog was born in March of 2005.
Since my book was not due out for another four months, and because the blog was just and experiment, I decided to keep it a secret. I wasn’t looking for any publicity, nor did I care if anyone read my posts. This was just an exercise in regularly writing articles on a topic that I know something about. The benefit was that linking my articles to my book’s website, it quickly succeeded in the goal of helping the search engines find the book’s main page.
But then it got interesting. The more I researched how the blogosphere operated (blogosphere being the cyber world of those who blog), the more I realized that there is a whole blogging community. I discovered that one of the things bloggers do is to create links from their page to the pages of other blogs that they respect and read. I had uncovered many other business, marketing and sales oriented blogs that I began visiting, and linked to these pages from my blog. I also installed a piece of software counted how many people visited my blog. At first there was just one per day, and that was me. But then I started noticing the count was rising. Through my participation in the blogosphere, people were finding my blog and reading my posts. A couple of bloggers would quote my posts and link to my page. I started to receive emails from people who praised my work and then people I did not know began to pre-order my book.
There now appears to be a few regular readers of The Business Development / Networking Blog. I was at a cocktail party recently and was introduced to a local entrepreneur who, upon hearing my name, stated; “Oh, I read your blog!”. Wow. I will admit, that was a very flattering.
Like the fax machine, cell phone, home computers and the internet, blogs are not a fad. The future is here and it involves blogging.
Have a great day.