Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Share Your Story: Tips for Bloggers

Just one more and then back to work...

Lee and I created a short set of "Tips for Blogging" for the Share Your Story site. A few folks have blogged about them, so I thought I'd share them.
  • Choose a title that makes sense for others - you might want to include your name or the theme of your blog.
  • Be yourself. A blog is a place to share your feelings and perspectives. Share stories about your life and observations in being a parent, or whatever you choose. Your blog is your home -- you are free to use it in any way you wish.
  • Update the blog regularly. This will keep community members coming back to read your blog and ensure that it remains at the top of the list of all blogs.
  • Read other blogs. If you're curious about where to get started, read other blogs in the Share Community. If you see something interesting, talk about it on your blog and share your perspectives.
  • Leave comments on other blogs. Everyone likes to have people reading their blogs. A way to do that is to read other blogs and comment on their entries. This lets them know you are listening and will prompt them to read your blog.
  • Use pictures. Uploading pictures to your blog is very easy and helps make connections to other Share Community members.

Tips and conventions are not only useful, but it seems to me that they can also be community indicators: where there starts to be some shared conventions that make communication and connection easier in an online community.

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Blogger Denise said...

I've been working on just this sort of thing. I keep opening my document and wondering if I'm missing anything or over-thinking something else.


7:10 PM  
Blogger Melinda Casino said...

These seem like good tips, except...

"Choose a title that makes sense for others

Are you talking about the blog, or a blog entry? If the latter, sometimes I use a title that's overly explanatory, with no creativity (just to make it clear to readers what they're in for), and other times I go the other way - super-creative, but doesn't really reflect the content of the piece. What are your thoughts on this?

"Leave comments on other blogs."

I read something somewhere that actively discouraged from leaving "me too" type comments, that don't really add to the content of the original post. I tend to agree with this - yet I've done my fair share of "me too" or "I agree" comments without really adding anything to the comments section conversation.

What's your take on this? Better to leave a "me too" comment than none at all?

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Chris Dover said...

Great tips. The shareyourstory.org site is fantastic. It seems like the community has embraced blogging as a great way to share their stories (lol silly thing to say ... but true).

Sour Duck: I know exactly what you are saying with the 'me too' comments. I have found myself making them just because someone has made a comment that expresses what I would have written (and usually does it more eloquently Haha). I try to avoid it however if ... this is my first comment on a blog AND/OR if the blogger or other readers have no reason to know who I am or why they should respect my opinion. I think that in the context of shareyourstory.org then short me2 comments are fine. People may not have a lot to add however they want to let the blogger know that they read the blog and are thinking of them. Plus even me2 comments can encourage the blogger by showing just how many people are reading the blog.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

I don't generally leave "me too" type comments on busy blogs. It's a waste of everyone's time and folks with blogs like Culture Kitchen or even Sour Duck are going to have plenty of people making comments and leaving questions that add something to the entry.

I do leave "me too" comments on newbie blogs or on blogs that don't seem to have much traffic. And I'm more likely to leave a "me too" comment on a blog that is within a specific community area, like the Share a Story blogs are.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Nancy White said...

All the comments remind me of the mantra, "context matters!" In the Share Your Story context, the social interaction is a key element of support between parents. Saying something even as simple as "me too" is a way to manifest the act of "hearing" another.

In other contexts, "me too" would be a breach of social convention. So as I look at the list of tips we offered, it would be useful for me to put the CONTEXT in as well. Duh. I should have thought of that. Worth an edit!

6:58 AM  
Blogger Nancy White said...

Titles: again, jeeze, how dumb of me to leave off the context. Share your story is about people SHARING their story. What we have found is that as the number of stories grows (and grows and grows!) that people start needing a way to select which stories to read and follow. Titles are the key here.

Also, these are turning out to be a really particular type of blog, again emerging out of the "story sharing" idea. They are at this point in time not generalist. They are realated to the story.

What we notice in the discussion areas may come out in the blogs as well. After people get comfortable with their story blog approach, they may then start changing to other types -- including generalist, and then people might indeed want other titles.

Lots of food for thought. Thanks for helping me think about this.

7:00 AM  
Blogger Melinda Casino said...

"People may not have a lot to add however they want to let the blogger know that they read the blog and are thinking of them. Plus even me2 comments can encourage the blogger by showing just how many people are reading the blog."

Chris, point taken. As Nancy says (after your comment) context matters.

Denise - I know what you mean. In a strange way I feel more licensed to leave a comment at a blog site I perceive to be low-traffic. So I wouldn't leave a comment at Feministe, but I would at DED Space (although I'm sure there are tons of lurkers at the latter).

If I do feel the strong need to urge at a high-traffic site, I edit, preview my comment, re-edit, preview again, etc. I have to feel really confident to leave the comment. I think I'm transferring my social behavior onto (into) blogs.

7:08 PM  

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