Using The Blog To Build A Community

Cambodia-2900 - Floating VillageTwo events took place this evening that made me spend a few minutes engaged in more serious thought about blogging. The first was a conversation that I had with a friend about why I blog, and what purpose Facebook serves.

The second event was Leora’s post The Blog Challenge. Upon reading it and the comments more carefully I decided that it was time to consider a few things;

1) What do I consider the most important elements of a blog to be.
2) Does my own blog meet the standards that I look for in other blogs?
3) What are the strengths and weaknesses of my blog?

Here is a bare bones list of what I want to see in a blog in order of importance:

1) Compelling content.
2) Community of readers that add to the blog.
3) A design/template that makes it easy to read and to interact.

Content is king. I don’t care how cool your template is, if you don’t have compelling content it won’t hold my interest. And while it is always nice to have a ton of comments they can help and hurt you.

Many people rightly see their blog as a virtual living room in their home. If you have a home in which the guests are rude/obnoxious to others you’ll find it very difficult to attract and keep other guests.

So I suppose that what I am really saying is that a successful blogger uses their blog to build a community in which dialogue about various topics take place.

If I take a critical look at my blog I think that it is fair to say that I haven’t done as good a job building the community here as I could. Some of that is because I have a habit of producing an enormous amount of content. When posts keep getting pushed down the page you hinder the ability of the community to respond and engage you and each other on various topics.

In addition I could do a better job of responding to comments in a more timely fashion. That raises a side issue of sorts. If you generate enough comments it starts to become difficult to respond to those on your own blog and to leave comments on other blogs.

This has been a challenge for me for a while. If you take the time to read and comment on my blog than I try to extend the same courtesy to you. The trick lately is that I find myself jammed for time. It is hard to respond here and go to your blogs to reply.

I suppose that you can attribute this as a leading cause of why I am sometimes slow to respond to comments here. One day someone may pay me handsomely to blog or I may win the lottery and find time to do what I want on my schedule and things will change.

If the meantime I encourage you all to continue to leave comments and I’ll do my best to reply in a timely fashion.

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