Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.


Blog Therapist Answer #2: No more Meta-blogging

I hate the term blogging, because I see what we call blogging today as a component of personal publishing, which is in turn an aspect of Web 2.0.

Many people who have blogs (my fancy way of not using the term "bloggers") despair about blog postings about blogs. I feel your pain (that's what a blog therapist does, I guess).

I mentioned in my wrap up of the March 31st Vancouver Blogger meetup that people wanted less business- and technology-talk about blogs. The group formed because they interacted online, and wanted to continue that interaction offline. The technology of blogs was not the intersection of their interests -- it was a media channel that they were using to communicate.

Of course, in the business and technology communities, there is intense interest in blogs. But more around the technology and concepts (tagging, conversation tracking, search, web applications, etc. etc.) surrounding it.

So blogging about blogging is natural. But if you have an audience that is NOT interested in the technology -- but rather in the communications that are facilitated by it -- they can get annoyed by this veering into the technology. I think Darren Barefoot is experiencing this as well. He often has to apologize to his wider readership for delving into blog or other tech issues.

What to do? Categories is one answer. On this site (and anything running on the Drupal platform) every category has a separate taxonomy feed. So people can subscribe or browse those posts that are of interest to them and ignore the rest.

A separate blog is another answer. I have about 4 places where I post. This personal business site (as opposed to my personal personal site, which has zero technology posts), my company blog, and then there is Urban Vancouver, where you can also see just my blog.

I have one more trick that I employ here on B. Mann Consulting. It took me a while to figure out how to do it, and it's still not perfect. I used to use the "blog" component for personal stuff, and the front page "story" type for business and technology stuff. Each have separate feeds, so people could choose whether to subscribe to the front, the blog, or both. I didn't have the discipline to keep the two types separated, or I would ignore one or the other.

So, now I use the "blog" component for everything, but I only selectively promote things to the front page. I try to only promote things that I know will be of interest to the majority of people, or that I feel is important enough to highlight. For instance, the fact that I changed my header image is not really front page material, but will still be interesting for some.

For the record, here are my two feeds (disregarding the feed-per-category that you can subscribe to if you wish):

This is also related to some discussions I've been having recently about cross-posting. I believe cross-posting is a short term thing. Generally, if I want to alert a localized audience to information elsewhere, I do a short intro post explaining where to find it and why they might be interested. This interrupts your topic only minimally, and the readers can make the choice whether to follow the link, being aware that they are reading in another context -- either going from personal to business, vice versa, or a switch of topics. Roland does a very good job of this.

So, hopefully this answers your question, Writelife (I checked your about page, but didn't find a name anywhere).

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