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Entries in blogging (2)


Day 11: Overload, Oversimplification, and Organizing

I knew it was going to happen.  11 days into this experiment and I have become overloaded. I can't keep up. This feeling of having too much to see and do and keep track of has led to a demotivation which has ultimately led me to revert back to a simplistic way of seeing social media as a pure time waster. 

I know, however, that there is more to it.  I totally understand that community takes time and energy to develop and maintain.  Staying on top of issues in my professional field takes proactive searching and reading. The question is--do I have the time and energy to keep up?  The answer is--I need to prioritize.

Ok. I'll be honest. The real problem was that I went back to work today. I have this fabulous job where I get every 4th January off to conduct research (or something that at least sounds kind of academic). But January is done.  It is now nothing more than good tweet memories and exciting livechat experiences. It was fun, but now I have to figure out how to have a job, blog, tweet, Facebook, pin, stack, poke, AND play temple run--oh, yeah--and cook dinner.  What stays and what goes?  What does it really take to stay on top of friendships AND professional reading using my new social media tools?

I am in the midst of developing a morning and afternoon routine.  I glance through Tweetdeck & Facebook each morning, tweeting or connecting with friends.  Then in the afternoon, I go through Tweetdeck again, stopping to link to interesting blogs or commenting on professional topics. I am hoping this schedule wil at least help me keep up with the network I have worked so hard to develop.

My biggest problem is the blog.  A good blog takes a while to research, then another chunk of time to write. Here are some really good ideas from Bridgett at Perideau Designs that I am going to try out.  The best idea is a "blog log" where you can keep track of things to blog about in the future, as well as a place to keep track of helpful links that can be used in those blogs to make them more interesting and credible.

If you are following along with me on a social media journey to competence, let me be the voice of encouragement.  We can do it.  It might be time to pare down and reprioritize, but I am more convinced than ever that social media can minister to people in a way that those social media critics and spectators just can't understand until they see it happen for themselves.


Day 6: Search Engine Optimization (or getting more than 10 people to read your blog)

Blogging takes a lot of time and I am pretty sure writing 30 blogs in 30 days was not the best idea I’ve ever had.  The question I find myself continually asking is the same one I started with.  Can anyone hear me?  I routinely post each blog link to Facebook & Twitter, but let’ s face it; my friends are busy and my followers live cluttered lives.  Not too many of them actually read my blog.  So how do I get my name out there and get my content read by more than just my mom?

One answer is SEO or search engine optimization.  Now, true SEO is way beyond my novice blog.  I have students who work on SEO and even though I see their mouths moving, I never know exactly what they are saying.  Rookie SEO, however, is all about getting Google to notice. For instance, I Google the exact name of one of my blog posts.  After looking through 10 pages, I quit—Google doesn’t know who I am.  According to the experts, the real key is to get other websites to link to your site.  The better the website, the higher the rank in Google’s algorithm.

Sounds easy, right? All I need is to get Christianity Today to link to my blog, and I should start seeing traffic increase. Oh, wait.  That’s right. Christianity Today doesn’t care about me or my link. So what are other ways to get linked? One way is to leave comments on stories related to your blog or your product.  While comments left all over the web may actually decrease your ranking, it makes sense to comment on the articles or blogs that actually relate.  This accomplishes 2 things.  It will impact your SEO and people will start to notice your name.  One thing I have found is that the community of people who blog & tweet about certain topics is usually a fairly small bunch.  It doesn’t take too long that, with a little work, you can be part of the club. Once you are part of the club, people will link to you because they like you.

According to blogger Susan Gunelius, it is all about writing great content. “If you write great content, people will want to link to it… Get on the radar screen of popular bloggers and websites by leaving comments, writing guest posts, participating in forums, emailing directly, writing articles, and so on. Build relationships with people who write for high quality sites, and the number of quality, incoming links you get to your blog will grow organically over time.”

So that is my task for today.  I am going to find the best articles and the best websites and begin leaving comments. There is a real-time twitter forum tonight on my topic and I am going to suck it up and jump right in.  I am even going to take one of my blogs and re-form it into an article and send it to one of the websites I follow.  With a little work, I hope that by the end of the month, Google will actually know who I am.