“A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.” – Henrik Ibsen
Why do we blog?
Why do we push ourselves to churn out posts that we sometimes doubt? Why do we stay up until the early hours of the morning to finish up a guest post? Why do we constantly read more and more blogging material when we could be out there in the real world playing in the sunshine?
It’s because we love to blog, and because we love the two great treasures that blogging provides.
The Treasure Chest
When it came to blogging, I was at first clueless. I didn’t really know what I was doing, what needed to be done, or what would really get me to where I wanted to be.
I’d only checked out a few blogs before I got started myself, and of those, most of them hadn’t been specifically about blogging – they were about football (soccer) or great books, or some other offline passion of mine. Which was great, but it wasn’t going to help me blog.
So instead of finding out more about blogging, and learning from the great experts like Darren Rowse or Brian Clark, I decided to do it myself and go it alone.
This, on reflection, wasn’t a good idea.
Sure, I’d checked out ViperChill and ProBlogger’s, Secrets for Blogging (affiliate link), and followed the advice in there, but that was only one point of information. To take my blog to the next level, I needed to step up my hunt for the treasure chest.
I needed to stop moping around my own blog’s dashboard and actually make an effort to be successful!
So I scooped up my hunting gear, girded my blogging ship for new shores, and like good ol’ Captain Jack Sparrow I set out for the elusive treasure chest that only comes to those who seek it. It won’t come to those who sit around their blogs all day and wish the world would do them a favor!
I hunted through new blogs, new lands, new voices, until I finally reached that treasure chest, cracked it open, and discovered two beautiful treasures inside. At first, I didn’t know what I had in my hands, but then I recognized. I recognized the treasures for what they were.
The two great treasures of blogging. Community. And Conversation.
When I think of community, I have a tendency to think like a literature professor and split it into it’s two components – ‘commune’ and ‘unity’.
What does this mean?
I think it means ‘unity in communing’, or better yet, ‘unity in communication’. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Unity in communication.
If you’ve followed me at all recently, you’ll know I’ve been vouching for the value of community. I regularly visit community-driven sites such as The Sales Lion and Conversion XL. These blogs largely discuss what community means and it’s impact on blogging. In a nutshell, I think community’s pretty darn important.
Because this is where the magic of blogging happens!
This is where you connect with the myriad of human beings out there, and learn and laugh so much.
I love the community that I’ve become a part of, as it’s enabled me to not only meet up with dozens of amazing bloggers, but I’ve also had the pleasure of reading great material, commenting on that great material, connecting with the blogger about that great material (and more), and retaining that connection with that blogger.
To put in simply, you could imagine the community of blogging as one big networking event, where everybody has a name badge with their name and blog title, and they mingle around checking out each others work whilst striking up some amazing connections.
Community is great. And I advise anyone who hasn’t started to cultivate their community to do so, immediately. There’s a whole world out there, so what are you waiting for?
A conversation, like community, can be broken down into two distinct components – ‘converse’ and ‘situation/location’. This means ‘a location or situation where people are conversing’.
Community is great on it’s own, but without a decent conversation, how can you have that connection with others?
The danger of reaching out to others is that it becomes a business-like transaction, where you don’t really talk with the other blogger but you do mindlessly comment and re-tweet their work in the hopes that you’ll get some form of payback.
There’s no conversation there, no real connection. And that’s not good. It’s not fun. And it’s definitely not worth your time in the long run.
And yet, it isn’t quite as simple for some bloggers to understand, who prefer to do their own thing and avoid any conversations with other bloggers.
Why do they do this, why do they avoid the conversation?
I can’t vouch for them, but my best guess is that they just don’t see the value in having an awesome conversation, and they’d prefer to work on their own blogs in the hopes that someone big will notice them.
If you want to gain a successful and thriving network of a blog, then this approach won’t work. Having a great conversation means you reaching out to someone and engaging them in topics of mutual interest.
As you’ll both have blogs, then ‘blogging’ automatically becomes a mutual interest, and you can talk about blogging to your heart’s content. Then, the conversation may change to the topics that your blogs are about, but in other guises – personal development bloggers may talk about self-help books, and social media bloggers may talk about Twitter or StumbleUpon.
The point is, if you don’t make an attempt with a conversation, you won’t have that connection, and you won’t get to know another human being. Because they’re more than just a blog that you see on your screen – they’re also living, breathing, free-thinking human beings. And they’ve got a lot to say.
Have You Found The Treasure Chest?
Every single blogger in the world today has a treasure chest, their own container of riches. Some haven’t found it yet.
Some aren’t even looking for it.
And yet some have it and haven’t paid much attention to the two great treasures. Others still have studied the great treasures, and are putting them to good use. A fifth group have begun to master the great treasures, and are truly reaping the rewards.
How about you?