Someone I know was asking about blogging the other day. I started to reply in an e-mail and then found myself thinking this belongs on the blog. It’s reflections on how I came to be a blogger and how I think blogging works.
They said they’d would like to blog to a small community (eg start with just the family!) but not to the world at large.Well there’s a few good services that do just that. See below – but first –
My own experience of blogging
I began using it to provide an online learning journal which became a meeting point for a group of people with a shared interest in online learning. For me the conversation was very important, this ‘conversation’ took place in the comments on my blog but more often something I wrote might spark off some one else to blog their own thoughts and include a link back to me. It was exactly this connectedness that drew me in. I liked the way learning began to build up between the losely connected bloggers. Some were other people doing my course, others were MA students and yet others experts who’d spotted a post somewhere & just joined in. All of this worked partly because blogs had backtracks so it was easy to follow conversations as they pinged around the blogosphere and partly because people who didn’t know about trackbacks would leave a comment with a link to their blog.
This was quite exciting. I’d blog about what some expert had written and next thing I knew they’d popped up on my blog to add a comment or they might even blog something I’d said. Famously once my flourless chocolate cake recipie, which I’d put on the blog for a friend with a wheat allergy, went flying round the blogosphere !
Things like this quickly overcame any self-consiousness I had about blogging. Still, I learned to almost never blog anything very personal, nothing about the school where I worked, and never anything that might identify other people. I blog to find out what I think about things, to point to things I find interesting, to share these things with anyone who is interested and hope to draw them and myself into the wider conversation.
If you already read some blogs find people who share your interests, link to them, read their links in their sidebars, explore the blogs they read, blog about anything you find there that interests you and link back, and don’t lurk all the time, comment! (Hmm, might need to follow my own advice a bit there! :-))
None of this would work if I restricted who could see or comment on what I wrote. If you feel you must then:
Vox is probably the best:
It lets you control your audience and might be the easiest way into blogging if you are worried by the world out there reading what you write. But I think it’s a mistake because it misses a very important aspect of what makes blogging interesting, worthwhile and more than just a diary.