Archive

Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

Seven Reasons Why Blogs Fail

December 8th, 2009 24 comments

blogshakespearecomicWhy do blogs fail? I’ve been blogging for, well, honestly I can’t remember how long its been. Ten or twelve years? More? I’m not sure. And I’ve been reading blogs for a long time too. Sometimes blogs begin with great fanfare and flourish and then, a year or so later, sometimes sooner, they simply stop. I’ve started a few myself, only to find myself losing interest in posting to them. Why?

Why do some blogs keep going and others fail? Here are seven reasons why I think blogs fail:

(1) They offer little more than constant axe-grinding and carping on a particular subject. This is one of the more spectacular ways blogs qualify for “epic fails.” I’ve seen it over and over again. If a blog site is nothing but a litany of rants, whines and complaints, particularly about one given topic, they generally dwindle away after the temper-tantrum is over and the emotional zeal wears thin. Now, this is not to say a blog devoted to a broad social concern is not going to work, and it may often be offering critiques. What I have in mind here are blogs that come off as whining. I’ve not seen many of these blogs stay around for long.

(2) They lack focus and purpose. Blogs that do not pick up and run with a main theme or interest tend to die a slow death. An initial enthusiasm for blogging, with frequent posts, slowly fades as the person struggles to know what to say. A sure symptom of impending demise are the posts that begin, “Well, I have not posted anything for a while…” or “Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted something.” If a blog does not have a unifying “meta narrative” or does not understand what its niche is, it will fizzle.

(3) They indulge too much in playing to the crowd. When a blog site does little other than post things that are obvious efforts to pander to a particular type of reader, I notice often they run out of steam. This is not to say a blog shouldn’t provide posts that are aimed at readers that may share the blogger’s particular set of interests or have an affinity for the same things the blogger does, but when a blogger writes posts that are obviously not really from his heart, but more to create buzz, these blogs don’t last long, or, frankly bore me so quickly, that I soon stop reading.

(4) They do not serve the niche they are trying to reach. This may sound like a contradiction of point three, so let me explain. Pandering to your intended audience is one thing, but the other side of the coin is blogging in such a manner that you do not appeal to the readers who will most likely find your blog interesting and worth reading. And, a blogger who does not know what he wants his blog to be about, and generally aims the posts on his blog in this direction, will himself become bored and disinterested in blogging and give it up.

(5) They are not comfortable in “their own skin.” Bloggers who post things that they think they are supposed to say, or write, or make a point about, reveal that they are not self-assured and certain about what they want to be posting. This is an awkward and uncomfortable situation. You know it when you see it. A person is posting things because it is trendy to be posting things about the subject. When this is the constant “diet” a blogger puts himself on, he will run out of steam. Finally, you have to have a deep sustaining interest, no, make that passion, about what you are saying and have just enough self-confidence to be comfortable posting about what you find interesting.

(6) They are insincere or desperate cries for attention. I find that insincerity or desperate “notice me please!” blogs tend to fade away, or are blogs that I ignore. Blog readers can see through faux-emotion. A blogger who is constantly playing to the emotion of the reader, or indulging in on-line narcissism, in my view, doesn’t have a blog worth reading. I’m convinced one reason people choose Twitter rather than more substantial writing and posting to their blogs is because Twitter is the perfect platform for the “notice me!” personality.

(7) They don’t have a plan for regular posting. And this is probably the most important reason why blogs fail: they simply have no plan for regular posting Posts appear sporadically or not at all, for weeks at a time, or months. If you don’t have a regular posting schedule, then you probably won’t get around to posting. I have a blog site that I have the best of intentions for, but because I do not force myself to post to it regularly, not much is happening on it. With this, my main blog, I try to schedule posts two weeks out, or more, at a time. I create a post to go up on an every-other-day schedule. Don’t think you have to post something every single day to have a successful blog. It doesn’t hurt though. I schedule every-other day posts, and then, if something comes up I can drop it in on the unscheduled days. Consider doing the bulk of your writing at a certain time. For me, it is the weekend, early in the morning, when I do most of my blog writing, then I just use the scheduling features of WordPress to drop them in place. In other words, if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

What have you noticed about blogs that fail or lose your interest?

Categories: Blogging

Cyberbrethren Back Up and Running

December 2nd, 2009 4 comments

It came to my attention yesterday, and thanks to those of you who alerted me to this, that my blog site had been hacked. The hack resulted in some people seeing up a pop-up advertisement for some, let us say, unsavory web sites. Those whose browsers have functioning pop-up blockers were prevented from seeing them, others were not so fortunate. Apparently there was some kind of an exploit hack causing my main page to load the pop up. Thanks to Ryan Markel, the problem has been fixed. I apologize to anyone who had to see this, and I hope it won’t happen again. Thanks for your understanding and patience. Kudos to my hosting service, BlueHost.com for a very fast response to my problem and helping me put up a temporary “under construction” notice yesterday.

Categories: Blogging

Ways Social Networking Benefits Pastors and Congregations

November 15th, 2009 3 comments

Interesting post from Paul Steinbruck at OurChurch.com. The Alva Review-Courier, based in the megalopolis of Alva, OK (pop 4,848) published an article today entitled Social Networking Sites Benefit Pastors, Congregations in Many Ways. The author if the piece, Kathleen Lourde, interviewed several pastors in Alva as well as some guy with the same name as me. ;)

The article explains many of the benefits to pastors using social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Twitter.  Those benefits include:

  1. Helps the pastor listen – So he knows more about what’s going on the lives of the people of his church.
  2. Humanizes the pastor – “it makes [him] seem like a regular person rather than a person who’s super-holy” (Did I really say “super-holy?” LOL)
  3. Helps church members feel more connected.
  4. In particular helps students who go away to college to stay connected to the pastor and church.
  5. Enables the pastor to quickly get a message out to many people in the congregation.
  6. The pastor can initiate spiritual conversations among members during the week.
  7. Helps the pastor connect with other pastors to encourage & pray for one another.
  8. A pastor can counsel people immediately online.

Any other benefits you can think of?  I’d say the article makes a pretty compelling case for pastors to use social networking tools.  What do you think?

If I Could Have Different Flags for Comments….

November 8th, 2009 Comments off

I really enjoyed this post over at the Read, Write, Web blog site. As one who has been blogging and moderating blogs for well over ten years now, I can surely identify with the wish to have proper “flags” by which to mark comments. Here then is a “wish list” for little symbols moderators would love to have at the ready to mark incoming comments. Kudos to RobCottingham for this.

cartoon_flagged_nov09a

Categories: Blogging

Facebook is Getting Old….Where Gen Y is Hanging Out These Days

November 5th, 2009 Comments off

More of the latest stats on who is where and using what on the Interwebbernet.dot.whatevers.worldwide

A Reminder About Cyberbrethren’s Comment Policy

October 30th, 2009 1 comment

This blog site is not “open season” when it comes to comments. All comments are moderated and subject to editing or not being posted at all. Therefore, just by way of reminder, if you feel a need to indulge in passive-aggressive rudeness, you can find plenty of places to do that. This is not one of those places. Thank you, and now back to our regular programming.

Categories: Blogging

Why Social Media and Social Networking for the Church? See for yourself

October 22nd, 2009 13 comments

Subscribe to Comments Feed Installed

October 10th, 2009 Comments off

A couple of tweeks to my blog site, one which you won’t see, one which you will. I added a plug called “Better Comments Manager” that will make it easier for me to review and reply to your comments and added “Subscribe to Comments” which will allow you to subscribe to and follow any comment thread you want to keep an eye on. I also tweaked the sidebar with a new graphic element. There you go.

Categories: Blogging

Welcome New Readers

August 25th, 2009 10 comments

welcome_mat The past week has seen a 34% increase in visitors to Cyberbrethren, probably because of the extensive coverage of the ELCA’s Churchwide Assembly decisions and posting of various reactions and statements. If you have a moment, feel free to add a comment and let us know who you, and where you are from. Thanks for reading.

Categories: Blogging

The Dangers of Anonymous Blogging

May 30th, 2009 Comments off

When people blog anonymously, it comes back to haunt them, when they are found out. And they always are, eventually. It is embarassing for them. So, if you are going to blog, do so under your real name. To blog anonymously demonstrates a lack of integrity. A word to the wise is sufficient….

Categories: Blogging

Cyberbrethren is Now Available on the Kindle

May 18th, 2009 2 comments

So, Amazon has opened their blog distribution network to, well, anyone with a blog. Cyberbrethren is now available via monthly subscription to all Kindle owners and readers. It will be interesting to see what happens. I’m having a hard time figuring out why anyone would actually use a Kindle as their blog reader, and pay to view blogs, when they are available for free over the Webernet. Here is a screen shot of Cyberbrethren’s Amazon Kindle location:

picture-6

No More IntenseDebate

May 6th, 2009 8 comments

Just a note that I’m no longer using the IntenseDebate plugin on this blog site. I had way too many problems with it. I notice that Dr. Gene Edward Veith has also dumped it from his blog site.

Categories: Blogging

A Comment about Comments

May 1st, 2009 3 comments

Since moving my blog into WordPress and on to its own domain, I’ve not been moderating comments. It has gone pretty well, in fact, thanks to IntenseDebate, it has been going so well, I’m going to require all persons wishing to comment to joint IntenseDebate. Those wishing to add a comment to the site will be required to register with IntenseDebate. So, comments remain open and welcome, but registration with IntenseDebate is now required. If you do not like this policy, you may start a blog site to debate this decision, intensely.

Categories: Blogging

For your blogroll

May 1st, 2009 Comments off

I recommend you add my colleague, Rev. Edward Engelbrecht’s, blog site to your blogroll. He has started blogging again and has interesting things to say about the task of writing, and writers, along with other thoughts along the way. He is inviting others to add to his blog. Other colleagues here at Concordia Publishing House who are blogging, including Rev. Scot Kinnaman, who likes to write about liturgy, worship, catechesis and related subjects, and Rev. Robert Baker, whose blog site is focussed on bioethical issues facing us today. Scot and Robert have been in my blogroll for some time, and I’m happy to add Ed’s blog again. Stay tuned for more CPH folks who are blogging, I’ll mention them when they become available.

Categories: Blogging

I was wrong. Twitter is terrific. Here’s why.

April 6th, 2009 33 comments

twitter-bird-wallpaperSome months ago I declared Twitter to be a total, complete waste of bandwidth. I was wrong. Twitter can be a bane, or a blessing, depending on how you use it. The trick to it, as I’ve discovered, is managing and using it efficiently. Here are my two favorite tools: TweetDeck and Pingfm.com. You will find this beginner’s guide to Twitter helpful. This is from Michael Hyatt, the CEO of Thomas Nelson, a leader in the general Christian community when it comes to Tweeting, Twittering, etc.

With TweetDeck I’m able to sort, slice and dice all my incoming Tweets, and organize whom I following into logical groupings. If you do not do this you will go insane trying to read Tweets, and since some people like to tell you what they are doing every fifteen minutes, if you pick up even a few dozen twitter feeds, yes, you will go nuts. Ping.fm is a wonderful way to update as many social network sites as you want, all at once. So, enjoy.

Pastors: we have to be where the folks are. And, they are on Twitter, and Facebook, and the Internet, and blogging, and so forth, and so on. A mantra I picked up from a co-worker recently is true: Communication is key and the Internet is free. Need I say more?

Oh, yes, you can Tweet this blog post, or send it on to Ping.fm. Just click the links below.