14
Feb
09

What is Blog Academy?

We all (each and every one of us) have something to say — something that we are aching to express to the world (even if we don’t know exactly what that “something” is).

With so many people unemployed and disoriented from a crippled economy that shows no signs of recovering any time soon, and so many aspects of our everyday life changing drastically to adapt to the new, stifling, economic climate, many people are seeking to express themselves in ways they never considered before — more substantive ways that allows them to bears witness to these times that are so difficult to comprehend (and maybe even make sense of it all).  With little to lose, more recently unemployed people will strike out on their own and become first-time entrepreneurs (realizing the cushy, stable, corporate careers they had are, like the George Bush legacy, history).  Without a doubt, most of those people will be blogging (some for the very first time).

people-on-laptops

We realized years ago that blogs can be powerful and effective tool of self-expression to the world.  But we also realized that, while blogging looks easy, in reality it isn’t necessarily (not if you plan on having a steady and loyal audience and monetizing your content).

According to Technorati’s “State of the Blogosphere 2008”, out of the 133 million blogs the site tracks, roughly 125.6 million of those blogs are abandoned (meaning that as of the publishing of the report, only 7.4 million blogs had been updated within the last 120 days).  (I confess that I also have an abandoned blog from two years ago that sits idly on the internet like an old dilapidated house– a footprint leading nowhere — my footprint).

Still, the blogosphere has matured considerably since its early days.  Blogs have grown into big business and big business (the old guys in suits at 100 year old companies) has finally and fully embraced blogs as the preferred way to communicate and pander to their customers.  Blogs are referenced in old media and given more authority and credibility today than ever before.  We now know how to monetize and socialize a blog — how to link it, tweet it, Facebook it, SEO it, market it, you name it.  Blogs are serious business.  People are now “branded” by their blogs.  We are our content.

I noticed, however, that for all of the blogs and books out there on how to create and manage your own blog there is very little on how to create engaging blog content that reflects the uniqueness of your character while keeping the user constantly engaged and entertained.  Why are so many blogs abandoned and so few books written guiding us in the art of writing great blog content?

Because writing original content is HARD.  Whether it’s a 250-page novel or a few paragraphs on a blog, it is not easy to create (especially on a consistent basis).  Blogging is misleading.  Those small posts that are a mere several paragraphs long on some of our favorite blogs can’t possibly be hard to write.  Right?  Wrong.  If it were so easy to produce consistently engaging content and, in turn, draw a loyal audience, then everyone would have a beautifully written, well-monetized blog with great traffic stats and there wouldn’t be 125.6 million ghost-blogs decaying on the internet.

I’d like this Meetup group to meet this challenge (and conquer) it head on.  Blogging (like any other writing any other medium) is a process of self-discover (for the blogger and their audience).  Having sat in “writers’ rooms” on tv shows and indie films through the creative process for more writers than I can count, I truly believe that when it comes to the creative process, there’s a time for solitude and then there’s “strength in numbers”.  Support, discussion and thoughtful critique does wonders.  That is what Blog Academy is about.  A support and discussion group for new (or novice) bloggers who are still trying to find their voice.

In addition to the core focus of finding our creative blogging voice, some of the other points of blog creation and maintenance we’ll be discussing is: (1) technology tools (2) monetization (4) marketing and pr (5) social media and microblogging and (5) time management.

For the more technical aspects of blogging, I will defer to experts in web development and blogging to come in and share a bit of their knowledge and experience with us.  I look forward to introducing the group to some very smart and talented people in the blogosphere (people I both admire professionally and know personally).

Finally, I don’t claim to be an expert at creating or managing blogs.  I believe in some instances, experts present a bit of a disadvantage — they are far removed from the struggle of the beginner/novice.  I am, instead, with you in the trenches trying to create engaging content on a consistent basis as well (a perpetual exercise in creativity and discipline).  Last November I had the pleasure of creating a blog for a web video project I produced called “Women Respond to Sarah Palin Webathon” that was featured on Huffington Post and many popular blogs on the internet.  It was a wonderful (and incredibly frustrating) learning experience.  I look forward to learning from each of you as well.

I will be getting suggestions from the group on topics to discuss and welcome any and all feedback.  If you come across something interesting regarding blogging, please share it with me and I will post it for the entire group.

Looking forward to seeing where this takes us!  Woot!

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