Onto Meredith’s questions:
1. How did you get into blogging?
It’s Gary Price‘s fault, ultimately. On May 6, 2003, I moderated Gary Price’s session on “Blogging for the Greater Good of Researchers” at the InfoToday 2003 (National Online 2003) conference. Gary used Blogger to create his presentation. At the time, what Gary was doing honestly didn’t make much sense to me. I remember thinking “why would I use Blogger when my web developer just built a CMS from scratch?” But I thought I should try out the new interesting tool to see what it could do for me and my library.
Sometime after that presentation, I started reading a couple of blogs, and started using some social tools like Bloglines and IM.
I also started fooling around with Blogger. I wasn’t about to start a personal blog – I’m just not that interesting! However, I realized that I wasn’t seeing much in the way of library website-focused blogs, and thought I might be able to pull that topic off… so I started tentatively posting stuff. My first “real” post was on September 12, 2003 (I think I deleted some older “just testing this stupid blog thing out” posts).
By October 2004, I had fallen into my “what’s in David’s head” groove, writing about stuff that was… well… floating around in my head. Ideas I decided to develop “out loud,” so to speak – in front of you – in a blog format.
And by February 2005, I had started videoblogging, too. Again, primarily because I needed a way to test new ideas, and couldn’t test them off my library’s website.
2. How did you gain an audience?
Hmm… Ultimately, I think my audience grew because of three things:
- good content (y’all read it, anyway
- networking – At Computers in Libraries 2004, I met Jenny Levine, Steven Cohen, and Michael Stephens. This was my first “try not to be a complete wallflower” conference – and I eventually worked up the courage to comment on their blogs, and share my blog with them in the process.
- marketing – I’m no marketer, but I’m no dummy either. At every speaking and writing gig, I started mentioning my blog. I can vividly remember when Bloglines told me there were a whopping 30 people subscribed to my blog
3. What advice would you give to new bloggers who want to make a name for themselves in the biblioblogosphere?
First off, don’t try to “make a name for yourselves.” That’s the wrong approach (I’ll delete your email and ignore your blog, anyway). Instead, do this:
- Start a blog, and write good content. Figure out what other “popular” bloggers are writing about, and write about the same thing. Add your own spin to it.
- Or, write about innovative or new things your library is doing.
- make sure to link to other blogger’s posts when writing your own post (making sure the link is actually relevant, of course) … cause we’ll notice. Most of us have vanity feeds set up to monitor what others say about us.
- start commenting on blog posts (and leave your blog URL in the comments). That gets you noticed in two ways: 1. if you comment on my blog, I’ll notice (well, duh David) and 2. people interested in the topic will notice – they’ll comment, they’ll see your comment, and they’ll very likely check your blog post out, as well.
- Speaking or writing anywhere? Make sure to mention your blog.
- And then keep it up. Again – I’ve been doing it for 5 years. Building up an audience takes time.