Blogging Your Way Through Life … Why You Should Bother

By Robert Mark on January 17th, 2007

Another blogger and I were waxing poetic on why anyone in their right mind would spend the time it takes build a well-organized, visually-appealing aviation blog – or any blog – much less squander the extra time it takes to develop content rich enough to keep one afloat.

Norman Rhodes is a Boeing 777 pilot in Europe and also runs the Digital Aviator blog which I’d highly recommend (and I really wish I’d thought of that name before he did, but I’m wandering a bit).

During our conversation Norman said, “I am not sure yet what the point of all this blogging is. Is it vanity publishing or does it have a real function?”

While I think Norman tossed the question out quite casually, my own brain has been working overtime looking for the answer. Why do any of us – why do I – spend enormous amounts of time writing about things covered elsewhere on the web? Since Time magazine named me the 2006 Person of the Year – you too actually – my opinion must obviously count for something.

To answer Norman’s first question, I think there is an element of blogging that does fan the flames of vanity. How could it not. After a 60-second registration at Google, anyone can publish news, pictures and audio content from anywhere in the world about macramé socks, cat breeding or life in a southern Iraqi village. A good blogger really needs only a few simple elements to begin … passion for a topic and the energy it takes to make a few cohesive statements. Jetwhine.com exists because of my lifelong obsession with all-things aviation and the elements of business that connect them together, as well as the crazy idea that I can bring a perspective to the day’s events that is totally different from anyone else’s. Building Jetwhine seemed like an evolutionary step from print journalism. And although formal credentials are not required for success in the blogosphere they certainly help, especially when we face the reality that each month, thousands of totally useless blogs are created. The trick is to skim the cream of the best ones available. At his blog Entrepreneur’s Journey, Yaro Starak recently spoke about the final marketing element needed for success … religiously sharing the URLs of the best sites you visit with your own readers just as I’m telling you about Starak. If you’re a blogger or simply a blog reader, think of this cross-pollination marketing as your fiduciary responsibility to help insure the success of the entire blogosphere.

Norman’s second question, “Do blogs serve a useful function?” Some people are obsessed with their readers while many supposedly could care less if anyone except their grandmother reads their prose. Despite what a few writers might tell you, I think we all want people to listen to us. Influencing people is why anyone writes anything.

Despite some useless blogs, a good one opens the door to perspectives on a topic that can be enjoyed no where else. Only that writer, editor, publisher decides what lands in the final copy, not some outside evaluator and certainly not an advertiser.

That bloggers are essentially responsible to no one is also one of their great weaknesses however. A blogger’s credibility should always be in question until they’ve proven themselves, so take what you read with a grain of salt, but keep searching for the best. And certainly some blogs are a little more clumsy than others because honestly, some many bloggers simply don’t write well enough to make anyone want to read past the first sentence. That tepid prose can make effective blogging for the writer about as tough as trying change the brakes on a classic E-Type Jag with a penknife.

For some, fixing the Jag is easier than writing a blogOf course, that never-ending search for the best site and deciding how often to return is part of the fun about the blogosphere. The best sites respect their reader’s time by letting them subscribe. When you see a note about an update, you only need to think briefly about that blog’s credibility or style before clicking. Is this blog worth my time? I hope Jetwhine is. And there’s much more to come. I happen to believe everyone in the aviation industry should at least try blogging. Once they’ve build one and written it for more than a week they’ll quickly realize why the rest of us are just plane crazy.

 

 

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4 Responses to “Blogging Your Way Through Life … Why You Should Bother”

  1. Yaro Says:

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks so much for the mention. I’ve never been linked from an aviation blog before and I do think planes are cool although I don’t like long flights and coming from Australia you have to do them sometimes.

    Keep up the great work on your blog!

    Yaro

  2. rob Says:

    I’m still pretty new at this, but I do think your comments on cross marketing are the way to go.

    But that sure means reading and writing at a lot of other blogs, doesn’t it?

    And thanks for the comments on the blog itself. Michael Pollack helped me get this up and running. Great guy if you need help.

  3. Norman Rhodes Says:

    Hi Rob,

    I enjoyed your piece about being harassed by businesses bent on selling you stuff. Isn’t it amazing that those who chose to do this kind of thing really don’t understand what they are forming in their targets mind? How on earth could one be led to think that by assaulting someone with mail and faxes that you might say to yourself over your porridge in the morning, “I feel like buying an aeroplane today, I know, I’ll ring those aerosols who keep hassling me with spam and spend $150, 000 with them.”
    What do you call it in the ‘States, “a no brainer?”

    Thanks for your kind and flattering reference to ‘The Digital Aviator.’ I am still flogging away at it, trying to use less material from the ether and digging a little deeper.
    As Yaro says, it is flattering to read your name in print and to get a return from a Google search when you look for yourself or your blog isn’t it?
    Could that be part of it all?

    Stay safe up there Rob, Norman
    Good stuff Yaro, stick at it mate!

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