So this month I completed 12 years of blogging on - well- my blog :)
It has been quite a roller coaster ride with 2964 blog posts over these 12 years. The real "golden age" of blogging was in the 2004-2007 era before the arrival of social and information networks like Facebook and Twitter.
So what did I learn during these 12 years of putting my thoughts out for faceless readers. Here are some thoughts
1. It's a global world
When I started blogging about HR issues I had no idea who all were blogging about the area. I discovered the ability to find out who was linking to your blog and realised that some recruiting and HR bloggers were linking to my blog from Canada and US. After that I discovered bloggers in the UK, Singapore, Australia. Over the last few years the readership of the my blog has been quite global - see these stats! Indian readership is actually second after the US!
2. It takes a community to succeed
Carried on from the first point - it is vital to find a group of like minded innovators to form a community and connect with each other and support. Without the community one would also run out of things to blog about - and learn new things. A blog is basically a many to many conversation and other bloggers are key to making a blog vibrant and sharable.
3. Give first, expect nothing
A blog is about sharing without the expectation of getting anything in return. My personal experience is akin to sharing half-formed thoughts - like a pot made fresh of clay - and putting it out in the baking heat of public commentary. The feedback only makes the thought better.
4. Find a personal "voice"
Since a blog is conversational - don't make it sound monotonous and "corporatese". Finding a "voice" that is typically you is key for blogging. It could be humour, a sardonic style or straight talking. It humanises the blog, makes the reader aware - even if he/she can't see you that there is a person behind that content and not a "content churning machine".
5. Attention does not scale
I read this statement in Clay Shirky's book "Here comes everybody" - and it's true. When you start out blogging you respond to every comment, every visitor who connects with you. However as the number of visitors and commentors increase it gets very difficult to maintain that human touch. On top of that your blog is being shared on Facebook and Twitter and multiple other networks.