Monday, June 20, 2011

Where have all the (prolific) bloggers gone?

They went thatta way.

Blogging is a lot like going to the gym: you'd rather not be doing it, but you know that in the long run it's good for you.

And, at the gym and online, I can say with certitude that there's a very real danger you'll run into Weiner in his gitch. But that's another blog.

The great blogging experiment

It's been two years since Creative Communications students at Red River College have been blogging as part of their coursework and professional portfolio, so they can post their assignments, thoughts, hopes, dreams, and porn. Just kidding: porn isn't professional.

What makes the blog assignment a “professional” endeavor is that it gives potential employers a sense of how well a person can write, how often, “voice,” style, interests, sense of humor, anxieties, etc.

I continue to believe that having a blog is key to being awesome in general and getting a job in the communications industry in particular; my ad major co-instructor Audra Lesosky says that her agency, McKim Cringan George, likes to see a blogging and social-media presence from any candidate fresh out of school. Of course, that's in addition to the standard portfolio, which still has a place too.

At the same time, the right column of the CreComm Blog Network tells a tale: of the 60-some students who graduated this spring, seven bloggers remain active (grads drop off the list when the blog shows no activity for a month).

Of the students who are returning to school in the fall, about one-third continue to blog, though some spend more time "writing" blog posts than others, who may just post a video or photo without comment (OK for what it is, but it wears thin if that's all you ever give your readers).

I sometimes wonder if I've helped students hate blogging by making it an assignment. I also sometimes wonder whether people who love writing so much that they register for a full-time writing class aren't hungrier to get their morsels of wisdom out to their adoring publics.

Why, when I was a whippersnapper, I had to navigate a "gatekeeper" at a "media outlet" to get my "writing" "read" by "my audience." No more quotation marks ever - promise.

Frequency = authority

Brian Solis' blog post - "Rumors of the Death of Blogs are Greatly Exaggerated" - summarizes a 2009 Technorati survey/report on blogging. According to the report, there's a simple reason why people should blog as often as possible: frequency = authority.

Among the report's findings: 
  • "One of the primary reasons bloggers...blog more is because they feed off the greater interaction that results from their commitment to quality and frequency of content. More importantly, self-employed bloggers claim that blogging has proven valuable for promoting business services and capabilities."
In other words, start building your audience now, because your business may depend on it later. 
  • "Authority is tied to investment of time, energy, and activity. The most-read and highest-ranking blogs publish more posts than the average blogger. The distance between elite bloggers and those who aspire to join them is tied directly to prolificness. Bloggers who rank among the highest post 300 times more than the lower-ranked bloggers."
So, you don't stop blogging because "nobody reads my blog." You blog more, so that more people eventually do.

See you at the gym, Weiners!

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for the timely post, Kenton. I'm an alumni, not a recent grad, but even I struggle to keep my blog current. In the summer months, people get too busy to comment, and you feel like you're sending your words into a vacuum. It's easy to think, "what's the point?" Thanks for reminding me what the point *is*.

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  2. Yay! Glad to see my blog is still on the CreComm blogroll. Even when there's no comments, Wordpress still tracks hits and the number of new visitors continues to slowly rise.

    My favourite blogs are focused on a particular subject: prairie weddings, reviews of cosmetics, cooking, etc. A lot of new grads probably find they have nothing to write about once CreComm ends - I know I did - so they need to latch on to a new topic.

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  3. I can attest to the frequency thing. Since summer, I've made an effort to blog once daily, Monday-Friday, and my traffic only continues to climb up and up (nearing 5k pageviews for the month already!). Persistence is key, I guess.

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  4. We definitely looked at each candidate's experience with blogging when we hired our last marketing position. Also tallied up each candidate's followers on twitter, facebook and linkedin. Having a strong social media following is very attractive to an online company like ours.

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  5. Sweet, I am awesome in general!

    People who understand that it will be an asset will use it, people who like it will do it. If you don't think it is an asset well then, that's your perogative to be ignorant of the potential of creating your own space.

    If I'm not one of the best examples of what it can do for you, then I don't know who or what is.

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  6. I've continued to blog since graduating this spring and don't intend on stopping anytime soon. It's been a hobby of mine for years, and CreComm only strengthened my blogging skills. I think it's an awesome aspect of the program, and I really enjoy learning new things by reading the blogs of my colleagues!

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  7. For those who may not be too gung-ho on the writing aspect of a blog (I know, I know, CreComm is primarily a writing program. Just hear me out,) they may want to explore doing a vlog or podcast. They are the TV and Radio equivalents to a traditional weblog and there is a place for all three in CreComm, I think. I know a lot about vlogging on YouTube and would be happy to talk about it anytime. It may be a good option for 2nd year Media Production majors who are having trouble finding stuff to write about...

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