08/02/2010 3 Comments
Given the audience of this blog, it is safe to say that you have all heard of blogs, and the inevitable etymological background – Web+Log. However, what I want to share with the blogosphere is not what blogs are, or why you should at the very least – experiment with them, but rather an insight I had into just how significant a platform blogs are and how they are the natural progression of human evolution and will therefore be instrumental in taking us forward into the unforeseeable future.
This particular paradigm was triggered by a very interesting talk by Matt Ridley: When ideas have sex. He is a particularly insightful speaker on TED.com who explains that the process of human evolution – in every sense – has only been possible through the interchange of ideas. Ridley argues that Homo-Erectus built the same kind of spear [below] for over 30000 generations due to a lack of an exchange of ideas.
Once this was possible – apparently around 500000 B.C. – there has since been limitless growth in the cross-pollination of ideas across multiple cultures around the world. Fast-forward to today, when our lives have become so complicated that we – as a species – have developed the ability to create technologies and solutions that absolutely NONE of us individually knows how. This is most evident in the internet and the way it is expanding the horizons of human knowledge geometrically.
Kevin Kelly, in a talk about the next 5000 days of the web, shows us through research that the current dimensions of the internet exceed over 55 trillion links – comparable to the average number of human synapses. 1 quintillion transistors used in this ‘single machine’ called the internet compare closely to the average number of human neurons. If the internet – which is the best example of human collaboration – has already reached levels of complexity comparable to the human brain today, one can only imagine what might become possible in the near future.
You’re probably asking yourself what this has to do with blogs. I believe that blogs are possibly the single most powerful form of human expression. They have the potential to reach millions of people worldwide, an unprecedented decoupling of power and influence. However, as the saying goes – “With great power..” To keep it simple (and non-obvious) the most important tips I have found on making it successful and – therefore – influential in the blogosphere can be summed up simply as:
‘Write from the heart.’ Write about what matters, what your take is on it and why it should matter to your audience.
‘Don’t be afraid to try new things.’ According to Google, as reported on Joop.in, the internet is growing at the rate of about a billion pages a day! Which means that for your blog to stand out, you need to harness every opportunity to explore as many networking opportunities as possible and try newer offbeat ones as well.
Source: Babauta, L. 2009. 12 Essential Blogwriting Tips for Building a Successful Blog in Write to Done | Unmissable articles on writing.
I would like to leave you with a sample of some of my favourite blogs.
Sacha Chua accurately describes herself as a tech evangelist/storyteller/geek. An Enterprise 2.0 consultant with IBM, Sacha has a web-presence and following that most bloggers can only aspire to achieve. This particular example showcases advice on how to make a 5 min presentation, which offers a refreshing, novel take on one of the most sought after skills in the corporate world.
Sacha also engages her audience through a variety of social media platforms such as Amazon, multiple blogs, Delicious, Flickr, Google Reader/Talk, Linkedin, Stumble Upon, Twitter and Youtube. From her blog, her current reach includes 2278 subscribers with 3160 comments, 3048 on Twitter. The fact that her blogs cover a wide range of interests such as work, technologies, personal life, etc only add to the overall broad appeal of her blog.
Agatha was recently on Freshly Pressed – the showcase for some of the best blogs on WordPress – for her blog – Whatever happened to two way conversations? Though this blog is certainly interesting, her follow up – Life in the blogosphere… accurately captures the surprise of a writer/blogger when faced with sudden popularity, a unique feature of web audience adoption. It also provides some insight into the true nature of communication and why the internet manages to harness it so potently with blogs.
Crystal Cun, an avid blogger/photojournalist, is quite a treat for those who have an eye for detail and proper storytelling. Her account of an adventurous trek up to the Männlichen Summit is a truly fantastic and well written blogpost with great photos and even better stories. I used to dabble in professional photography and can say this much for her work: her composition is flawless and every frame tells a truly wonderful story. The choice of specific frames in the blog is very carefully pondered upon and adds real aesthetic value to the quality of the post.
Alexander is another truly gifted photojournalist – in his blog, ‘the land of the loving people’, he affords his audiences a glimpse into an evidently touching personal journey through Asia, which has influenced the authoring of a book by the same title. His photos certainly create a great blog which is inspirational, to say the least.
I hope this blog post has – in the very least – got you thinking about what you need to do to engage the blogosphere. Please take a moment to share your thoughts and insights on the art of effective blogging.