Tag: blogging

This Week: Shadow Blogging Jason Kottke

This week I’m going to pay close attention to, and maybe even blog in the style of, Jason Kottke.

Kottke once held the #80 spot in the Technoratti Top 100 blogs. He’s dropped in standings but remains a remarkable blogger owing to his highly interesting posts and sparse, minimalist presentation.

Kottke is currently working on Stellar, which looks like a mash-up of tumblr and Stumble Upon.

Blog Experiment #53: Shadow-Blogging

I am amazed, baffled and tremendously envious of people who can make even a fraction of their living by blogging. So I decided to do something about it.

Starting this week I am going to try my hand at shadowing another blogger and learning what exactly it is that they do. What are their topics? How often do they post? What are their sources? What can I learn from all this?

We’ll see how it goes. Then I’ll post about that.

Who should I shadow first? First up: science fiction writer Cory Doctorow.

[Photo by Cornava]

2010: The Lost Year

This past year feels like it slipped away. I had big plans in mind, got off the track and then simply reacted to events for the next 11 months. Pages peeled off the calendar and drifted away, carried on the wind to the landfill of memory.


Looking back at 2010 I see that my posts were all over the place. Still, I’ve found people using this blog, particularly when it comes to finding the trail to Two Trees. Perhaps it’s worth making a go for another year. Only this time with more zest and vigor.

You know what would help? Comments. Your input can make a huge difference. Even if you don’t really have anything to say. And I promise I’ll be better with the comments you do post.

Here’s to a Comment-abulous 2011, a year of Suburban Adventure and new frontiers on the edge of the ordinary!

Why I Stopped Blogging

I started this year with a goal to better focus my writing and blog every day. I did a pretty good job of it until February 15…and then I stopped. Why?

My attention shifted. The things I’m interested in at the moment don’t necessarily fit the theme of this blog…which is loosely defined as “things for the suburban frontiersman.” I’m caught in a dilema. Do I post these things because they are close to my heart? Or do I reframe them to stay on-topic with this conversation? Or do I, like the Protestant Church when faced with a dilema, start another conversation elsewhere?

So I am doing what I typically do when faced with a confusing choice: nothing.

Some blogs manage to pull together very eclectic conversations by having a loose but persistent focus.

  • boingboing continues to amaze, delight and surprise me. (Happy Mutant Culture)
  • LifeHacker is regularly useful. (Simple tricks to boost productivity)
  • KK Lifestream produces “Oh, wow!” moments (“Out there” meets “in here”)

Other blogs make me wish they would get back on track. For instance I wish Geek Hiker would post more of his excellent trail reports (SoCal hiking scene from a guy who is hopelessly single).

I’m toying with the idea of adding a “BrainBucket” category as a place to talk about some of the ideas I’m having. Such as The Permeable Organization – Crowdsourcing Marketing Conversations from Within. Then again, that’s way far afield from “stuff to feed your suburban adventures.” I’d also like to talk about Hunter vs. Farmer – Tips for Hunter Personality Types, Viewing Church Splits as Conversations and Using Music to Reset Executive Function Meltdown, Out of My Head: Tips for Creative Types Who Are Poor at Making Social Connections.

In other words, an explosive hodge-podge of conversations that dont’ fit any particular theme. Do I put them here and blur the focus of “suburban frontiersmanship” that has had moderate success over the past month or two or do I need yet another platform?


What Makes the Best Blog Strategy: Arcs, Nuggets or Tens?

Photo by A is for Angie: http://www.flickr.com/photos/71719923@N00

Photo by A is for Angie: http://www.flickr.com/photos/71719923@N00

What kind of blog posts do you find the most compelling? A decade ago someone pointed out to me that the surest path to get on a best-seller list is to have “Ten Easy Ways to…” in your title. The Blog-o-sphere bears out this line of attack – list posts (ie “Merlin’s top 5 super-obvious, “no-duh” ways to immediately improve your life“) get all kinds of instant traffic. List posts, or “Tens,” are easy to write and very easy to read. I fall prey to them all the time because there’s usually one halfway useful idea in any collection of ten things. And a Tenner usually doesn’t go on and on ad nauseum. Each item is a quick wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am story.

Nugget posts are another thing. These are quick, well-contained posts on a variety of subjects. Boing Boing and kottke are the masters of this kind of posting. Bite size chunks of interesting info ranging from vintage Nintendo to steampunk chimpanzees. This type of posting satisfies the mind’s built-in need to acquire information through browsing.

Finally you have arcs. These are genuine stories with a beginning, a middle, and perhaps someday an end…spread out over the scope of a blog. These aren’t your “I found a cute new bistro” or “what I did on my summer vacation” posts. There is some real drama and real conflict attached. It’s a tough act to pull off when you live an ordinary life and have just a few minutes a day to craft a decent post. The best of the breed without a doubt is Fat Cyclist.

This blog tells the story of Elden Nelson, a cycling enthusiast who hit middle age and realized that he’d let the one passion in his life slip through his fingers. Out-of-shape and 30 pounds overweight, could he get it back? As a devoted father and husband could he carve out the time and purpose to get back on the bike and ride?

This alone is enough to carry a good story arc, at least for a blog. But then Elden has to face a real life plot complication – his wife Susan is diagnosed with breast cancer. Can Elden keep sight of his goal and at the same time care for his wife and children?

These are not rhetorical questions here. I’m genuinely interested in what YOU think makes the best blog strategy. I’m struggling to find a vision for this blog and I’m starting to think it might be a mix of arcs and nuggets. I don’t think my story is as big as Elden’s…certainly not focussed enough to sustain a readable blog. But I’m likely to get bored with posting nothing but nuggets. I feel a need to live out a larger purpose.

So you tell me, what’ll it be, arcs, nuggets or tens?