A Web LifeA Web Life

BLOG INFOJohn December's blog on Web publishing, voluntary simplicity, cities and urbanism, digital photography, life, and various observations

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date15 Nov 2008 11:26 CST
placeMilwaukee, WI, USA
tagsblog, blogging, web, flickr, photography, simplicity
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Great blogs bring people together

I am impressed by Seth Godin's simple post on the secret of great blogs. In brief, a great blog leads a tribe. I don't want to lead a tribe, but I seek in my blog to bring information together.

My goal is have a place to set out ideas on various topics in the style of a notebook. For example, I plan to write posts in preparation for a new edition of my Live Simple book. I find that writing for an audience (even a small or imagined one) helps focus my writing. I plan to write posts on the subject of simplicity that I've observed in my life. I can then use these posts to boil down more cogent and concise points for my book. In essence, this blog can give me a way to create rough drafts of ideas.

I seek to organize and weave information together

my flickr stream

In many ways, what I've experienced on flickr has been a revelation that has led me to this blog: I've seen how the regular accumulation of content (in this case, photos from my walks about town) gives rise to a set of pieces that I want to further organize. In the case of my flickr photos from my Milwaukee walks, I've prepared a MKE Album to organize, annotate, and link the photos to location information. For each photo location, my software generates a map using google mapping services. I also have a RSS-to-HTML transfer script to bring in flickr photos of that location. I link to reviews of the location, where applicable, to Web sites such as yelp.com. This blending of content, I think, shows the power of the Web: to knit together different strands of information from different sources into higher-level patterns. My work is to organize these strands into something more useful than just the parts, yet always allow the reader to tap into the interest and value of those parts. In this blog, I'm considering ways I can link together what I write about to other pages on my Web site.

I also am having a great time learning about RSS and XML and how to use services from a variety of sites to spread the word about my blog and to get simple tools for linking and bookmark sharing. I've also examined blogs to see different page formats. I want to see how I can best serve my readers and work within my own purposes and capabilities. The nice thing is that the blogosphere has matured to the point where there are conventions and expected features of blogs: subscription buttons, social bookmarking links, archive links, sidebar links, and other information. I'm exploring different services, such as feedburner to develop these features on my own posts.

Unique blogs rise in popularity

I would say that Godin also writes well, and that the leader of the tribe should have a talent for sharply focusing insights on engaging topics.

I've seen blogs gather tribes just as Godin describes. The topic of the tribe also may gather more followers if it goes against conventional wisdom, or if the blog offers a forum not found elsewhere. For example, I've followed the The Housing Bubble Blog as it set out reasons why house go prices down. During the frenzied run-up in housing prices, the idea that a house could go down in value was ridiculed (despite evidence to the contrary). Today, this blog's main points have come to pass, and the comments the blog posts provide further insight and confirmation of facts and unfolding events. [End of Post]

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