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Help! How’s my blog working?

June 17, 2010

As I approach the big 10,000 views to this website, I am starting to get worried. I’ve been pretty active on Twitter and in the blogosphere for over a year now (not just writing – also reading and commenting).

I keep seeing the same advice: Build your brand. And that is fine if you are only interested in, or only working in, one thing.

But I am interested in everything. To some people, that might look like I am all over the place. (Which, in a way, I am, I admit… )

But the thing is: everything is connected. And that’s what I am most interested in – the connections. So this is what I write about – both in my non-fiction and my fiction – and what I try to show through my sound stories (the radio dox) and my photos as well.

I don’t want to travel to some game farm to get the technically perfect, tight close-up of a captive wolf. I want to show that animal in its natural environment, connected to the habitat that it needs to survive. To me, that’s the story: the connection, the relationship.

Everything is connected.
I feel that, in our “modern” and “advanced” society, where most of us live in cities far from the places where the things we consume come from, many have lost that sense of connection – but that doesn’t mean that that connection is not there. We’re just not aware of it. Every plastic-wrapped product you purchase is connected – both to where it came from (likely extracted from an oil well just like the one spewing out in the Gulf right now – so who’s really at fault there?), and to where it’s going (trucked to a landfill? or consuming energy as it gets transported and reformed into another product?)

Even if we are not always aware of the connections, they are still there.

So I think that is what I think about, and now what I blog about. Connections. Relationships – to our planet, to our food supply, to movements of our planet, to each other, to our own bodies.

But if I am supposed to be a brand – well, how do I make “connections” my brand? It’s a pretty big thing, not very definable.

A lot of what I do (i.e. why I left my well-paying job in the mining industry to earn a pittance as a writer) is about helping people to have the knowledge to make good decisions. To have the actual information, as well as to try looking at things differently – at times, even popping out of our ingrained “western” world view and reassessing our values and, therefore, our actions. Both about the big thigns and the little things: be it about personal health, or about treating our planet in a way such that the next generation can also live well here, or about preparing ourselves for the earthquake and tsunami that are coming here to the west coast. Every decision we make affects something: the world around us, the people around us, and the people to come.

So if you look at everything I blog about, the theme is there. Connectedness. But if you look at my list of blog topics – well, it looks like I am all over the place.

You’ve probably noticed that my blog activity has been a bit slow lately. That’s partly because I’ve had a busy spring, and have been focussing on my major projects rather than the blog. But it’s also because I am reassessing this blog, and I need your help! I plan to start posting more regularly, but I am just trying to figure out where I should go with the whole thing.

So, for those of you who have been following my blog this year – as well as for those of you who are new to it – what would you like to see here? What do you think I should do? Are you getting the connections I am trying to make, or do I seem to just be going all over the place?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. sharleenjonsson permalink
    June 17, 2010 11:43 am

    Well, I’m no expert — when I started my own blog, I found it difficult to decide what my focus should be. All of us are being told we need to build a platform, determine our brand, etc., but when I started my blog, I was right at Square One needing to establish an online presence. (My old website was so old and neglected, I’d deleted it.) One way to figure out what to blog about is to ask yourself, Who do I want to read my blog? I decided I wanted to attract people who are enthusiastic readers with a strong interest in how books are written, and who may be writers themselves. So when I think of an idea for a post, I ask myself if these people would be interested in it. (I may not always be right, but at least I ask myself the question.)

    You’ve got a very wide range of topics that to you are all connected (and I see your point; they are connected in many ways). But it is wide. You could pick one area to be your main focus — e.g., health or sustainability or Tofino or whatever — and make sure each post addresses that focus in some way. Or, you could say your theme is “connections” — in the 80s, there was a great TV show called Connections but the connections all led to scientific knowledge, so even that show was not as broad as the title made it seem. I’m guessing all your connections have to do with one thing, and only you can name what that is. (Sustainability? Environment?)

    Sharleen

    • June 23, 2010 9:11 pm

      Hey Sharleen, thanks for your comment, and apologies for my delays in replying… a busy week!

      Yeah, I guess it’s a lot about figuring out what I am trying to do with it. I have actually also started a blog for Tofino (http://tofinoresidents.wordpress.com). It wasn’t meant to be only by me – it was meant to be a forum for community discussion – but since I am almost the only contributor, it seems to have become “my” blog. And I don’t want it!

      So, back to this one… for my own purposes, I like what I am blogging about: Literally, whatever interests me. But I can see that, from an audience perspective, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. I’ve got to find some sort of umbrella to encompass all of these topics – and then leave out the ones that cannot fit under the umbrella. Yes, the word “sustainability” starts to enfold all that I am trying to talk about… it’s not the whole thing, but it’s a start to it.

      Thanks for your thoughts!

  2. June 20, 2010 9:12 pm

    “how do I make “connections” my brand? It’s a pretty big thing, not very definable.”

    There’s your mistake, in my view, because if you can’t define it, it’s not a brand. The connections that you go onto write about are brand attributes, sure, but they are not the heart of the brand. It’s a complex world and your interests naturally reflect that but your brand cannot….people just don’t have time to extract the bits of your varied output that appeal to their interests. You need to decide what’s the purpose of your blog and go from there…surely it’s not simply to tell the world about everything you’re interested in? So apply discipline, decide what you’re about and be it. If your interests are too broad, consider building two brands!

    • June 23, 2010 9:17 pm

      Hi Mark –

      Thanks so much for your time to give me this input!

      I’m more interested in the connections than in trying to be a ‘”brand”. But I’m told that I’m supposed t be a brand, or define my brand…

      You’ve hit the nail on the head: I need to decide what’s the purpose of my blog. I think that part of it surely has been to tell people everything I am interested in… but with the add-on of hoping that people who are interested in those same things will start following me and my blog and what I am doing.

      And I’ve definitely thought of this idea of having two “brands” – although, at the same time, that seems very deceptive. I’ve thought of writing some books under a pseudonym, because their style and subject matter would possibly take away from the “seriousness” of what I consider to be my more important work, i.e. would negatively impact my image or “brand”. Gee, I don’t like being a brand…

      Anyway, thanks again. I’ll stick to the random blog postings over our summer as I decide what to do with this… but by September, I plan to have a plan, something more directed.

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