Four days ago, ProBlogger Darren Rowse challenged fellow bloggers to publish a post based on the following seven themes. Hooked by the idea, I rolled up my sleeves and got to it. Then I read Darren’s own seven-link post. If you don’t already know, Darren is a highly successful blogger, speaker consultant and founder of several blog networks and blogs, including ProBlogger, which features tips on blogging. His Wikipedia entry notes that “as of 22 May 2009, Problogger was listed as number two on Technorati’s most favorited blogs list and number 40 on the most linked to blog.”
I reconsidered my participation in the challenge. It seemed audacious to hoist my hand — I’ve only been blogging for five months. However, the whole point of the exercise is to learn by doing. So, here’s my contribution.
- My first post: Go slow, just don’t stop. The date was March 6, 2010. I shared how I was setting out on a brand new course in life, to learn to apply social media, out of my job and comfort zone, and how I planned to research and learn from the best, using the blog to distill and demonstrate my findings as I go. I wrote: Step four is harder—where to go online? It’s a bit like entering a packed exhibition hall or a Saturday-morning market, full of noise, bright colours and lights, a sea of rows/directions. I didn’t mention how anxious I get in crowds!
- A post I enjoyed writing the most: The not-so-obvious: visiting the Shrute farm and learning to blog. Writing this post was fun, inspired by a Consumerist news item tied to the TV program, the Office. Newcomers to social media can feel like outsiders. As I wrote in this post: It’s just as easy to “not get” a key element or step when you’re learning to blog. If you’re new to social media tools, the language that’s tossed around online, especially on discussion floors, can be confusing. You’re there in your Walmart sneakers and they’re bouncing around in their spiffy Air Jordans.
- A post which had a great discussion: Hmmm. How about any discussion? Comments have been posted, but no real discussions. Yet.
- A post on someone else’s blog that I wish I had written: This was the toughest to pin down. I’ve *starred* and bookmarked so many. How about two? The first is How not to suck at blogging written six months after Adam Baker launched Man Vs Debt. The lessons, takeaways, and tips here are generous and well-written. They’ve led me to some great new resources and points that have helped keep me on track. Plus I think what he’s accomplished is amazing. The second post is one I discovered on the Huffington Post. Paul Rauschenbush is the associate dean of religious life and the chapel at Princeton University. His What kind of life do you want to live has graduation day reflections that can be meaningful at any stage of life as we reassess and embark on new directions. As he writes: Living the life we want to live means that in those moments of apparent failure, loss, and setback, we see in even more detail the beauty and possibility of those things that are within our means to influence and enhance.
- A post with a title that I am proud of: Put the beef into your social media identity, my most recent post. I also consider this one of my best-written and best-packaged pieces. I’ve come to realize that while some of my titles have been meaningful to me and a good fit with the photos I’ve used, they probably haven’t conveyed social media learning that usually starts two or three paragraphs into the post. At first glance, people may have thought “ignore the squirrels” a nature blog. On the other hand, “Put the beef into your social media identity” gets right to the point, commands attention and meshes well with the content and photos.
- A post that I wish more people had read: ll voices worth listening to. In launching my blog, I said that I intended to research and learn from the best. This post identifies some of the best voices/experts that I’ve discovered in blogging and social media, including examples of what I’ve found valuable from each. I put hours of thought and effort into compiling this and wanted others to benefit from these “voices” as well. That you need to give to get is a basic tenet of social media. I’ve discovered many genuine and generous individuals online. Collectively, they’ve helped shore up my belief in people. That’s a good bridge to point number 7.
- My most visited post ever: timethief flips time and space for bloggers like me. This post continues to get read. Timethief is an incredible resource on anything and everything WordPress. Navigating the choppy sea of online information is challenging, and at times overwhelming. It’s comforting and empowering to have an authoritative and dependable North Star to help keep me on true course.