You Don't Start Blogging, You Join In

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

The reason clichés become clichés is that clearly articulating ideas in an easily understood manner is actually pretty hard. When people hit on a really good formulation, they tend to stick to it. This has come home to me because I’ve spent the last hour looking at a set of blogs that are, frankly, failing. I’m trying to find a form of words that will make it clear where they’re going wrong. It’s not easy. I’ve spent time talking to the people involved already, and it’s apparent that I haven’t managed to communicate the message.

One Hand TypingAnd I’m coming to the conclusion that “starting blogging” is a bad way of expressing what people do. The reality is that they’re “joining in” blogging. If you look at what we might call “easy blogging” services like Vox or My Telegraph, they make this explicit, by building mechanisms into their platforms for following what other people are writing. They make the community aspect of blogging an integral part of their service.

If you just “start blogging”, with no form of interaction behind what you’re doing at all, and particularly if you do it with no experience of reading blogs, your words just sit there, alone, ignored and with no links inwards. People have no real way of finding what you’ve written, however good it is. And, to be honest, if you’re not aware of the inherent community name of blogs, you’re not going to write directly to your readers in the way that really makes blogs work.

So, it’s time for some people to stop starting and start joining in. What could be clearer than that?

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.