I’ve been telling anybody who will listen, since even before I acquired MarsEdit, that if you want to be a significant member of the Mac developer community, you need to have a blog. In fact, you need a blog even if you’re not a Mac developer. It’s good for your business, it’s good for your social life, and it can even be good for your ego. You don’t have to use MarsEdit to write it, but you need to have one. Case closed.
And if you’ve been slow to pick up the habit, you better get moving. People from all professions and social circles are learning how important blogging is to staying connected in our modern digital world. Kevin O’Keefe is a former trial lawyer who is now trying to impress upon other lawyers the importance of marketing yourself on the web, with his own blog: Real Lawyers Have Blogs.
That’s right. Even the lawyers are blogging now. The “no duh” wisdom of starting a blog is spreading like wildfire. You have to ask yourself now if you’re involved with technology, do you want your lawyer to have a blog before you do?
My friend Oliver Brown once related to me some wisdom he had learned, I believe from his grandmother: “Everybody has at least one novel in them.” And the same is more than true when it comes to blogs. There’s a successful blog in you, you just need to figure out what it is. So what are you waiting for?
Here are common excuses I hear for not blogging, and my reaction to them:
Excuse: “Nobody reads/will read my blog…”
Well, duh. That’s because you haven’t written anything in 3 months, and the last time you did, it was about what you ate for breakfast. You can write more often and you can choose a topical area to focus on. What’s amazing about the web is it truly is so huge and there are so many people hungry for content, that your blog will gain a readership as long as you keep working at it.
Excuse: “I don’t have anything to say…”
If you can’t think of anything interesting to say, you might have to face the sad possibility that you’re not an interesting person. But that’s almost certainly not true. You just need to figure out what you do that’s interesting, and then share it.
Perhaps what makes you interesting is the way you solve programming bugs on the Mac, or perhaps it’s your extensive knowledge of postage stamps. Every time you get excited about something and wish you could share your discovery with somebody, the blog is your answer.
Maybe you share it with the world, or maybe you just share it with your close friends and family. Lots of people these days run more than one blog. A professional blog. A baby blog. A hobby blog. A humor blog. What makes you special? Who can you keep in touch with, educate, or entertain by way of a blog?
Excuse: “I’m not a very good writer…”
Blogs are conventionally prose-oriented, but there’s no reason they need to be exclusively so. If what you have to share is visual, then post photos or drawings to your blog. If you’re a wonderful orator, start a podcast (just another word for an audio blog). Perhaps your talent is writing one-line humorous quips; nobody says your blog entries need to be longer than one sentence! Math nerd? How about a “Proof of the Week” blog, or similar puzzling challenges for your readers?
Excuse: “I can’t blog because my employer won’t let me…”
First of all, what you do in your personal time is your business. If you’ve convinced yourself that your job can be jeopardized by engaging in a social life outside your company, then I’m really sad for you and your situation. Sucks to be you!
What’s more likely is you simply can’t blog specifically about what you’re working on. So what? Is that all you have to share with the world? Even if you can’t blog about the specifics of your work, I’m betting you can find oblique topics that relate your experiences with those of other people.
And if you’re really, truly scared for your job? Don’t blog under your real name. Sites like Blogger and WordPress make it a snap to set up a free blog that is very difficult to trace back to you. How do you think Fake Steve Jobs got away with his shenanigans for so long?
Excuse: “I don’t have time to blog…”
There’s a reason I put this one last. You’ve read this far through my blog? Don’t you have better things to do!? If you’re spending time reading other peoples’ blogs then you’ve obviously set aside some time in your busy schedule to engage with the world blogging community. The fact that you’re spending all that time listening and none of it speaking is just a matter of allocation. Join the conversation.
Lots of people don’t realize how little time it can take to run a blog. With modern publishing systems, adding new content is literally as easy as typing it into a text field and clicking “Send,” or “Publish,” or “Save.”
You’ve just got to take the leap and start your first blog. Once you do, you’ll wonder why you waited so long.