Experienced Bloggers and Finding Your Why

The Daily Post yesterday was pretty epic. If you didn’t have a chance to read the entries, I highly suggest making some time to do so.

Give your newer sisters and brothers-in-WordPress one piece of advice based on your experiences blogging. If you’re a new blogger, what’s one question you’d like to ask other bloggers?

I’m a newbie, but I also have an irrepressible need to give advice, so I shall address both parts of this prompt.

Firstly, my questions for experienced bloggers or anyone who knows the answers:

  1. How do you introduce your blog to non-bloggers or non-blog-readers?  In this, I mean everything from telling a friend that you have a blog to promoting it online.
  2. What is the appropriate real-world etiquette if you intend to reference someone or a business in your blog? Should you tell them before you do? Notify them afterwards? Hope that they just don’t notice?
  3. If you submit your post for a possible guest post, or for a possible acceptance into another website– and no one replies– how long should you wait before just using it yourself?

blogwithpurposeNow for my advice: Blog with purpose.

I’m not saying your blog has to have a gimmick or a niche, just that you should have a reason for doing what you do.

There’s a wonderful talk at Ted, by Simon Sinek.  He talks about how the reason “Why” you do something is at the very core of whether or not you will succeed.  He calls his circle the “Golden Circle”.

His idea is structured on the belief that people respond to Why not to What.

To put this theory in the context of blogging:

  • What  = The subject matters about which you blog
  • How = Your posting schedule, your preferred format, your site theme
  • Why = Why you wake up in the morning, intent on being a blogger

You might follow a blog because of the What or How, but you become a loyal reader of a blog because of the Why.  You will support a blog reader whose Why you understand, and even better– one whose Why is one with which you empathize.

So find your why, blog with purpose, and succeed by whatever measure of success you choose to use.

Cheers to you, my blogging friends!

More Daily Post responses here: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/daily-prompt-key-takeaway/

110 Comments

  1. Keep it short and simple. Use excellent images. Write well and proofread. Always, always respond to comments and to a new follow. Visit the blogs of peeps who visit yours and make genuine comments. Be real.

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    1. I’m pretty good with the images and proofreading, and being real. 🙂 Now I just need to figure out a way to remind myself to keep it short, haha! 😀

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      1. Just trying to find a place to thank you for your kind words on my pictures of Uxbridge. I’m just learning.

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    1. I’m sure we’ll have answers soon, then– there are readers around these parts that are geniuses. 😀 In fact, I’m not why it took a prompt to remind me to ask them questions! 🙂

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  2. I think if your words come right from your heart, without asking yourself if somebody else will like it, people will like what you’re doing. It’s a kind of flow. And, of course, reply on comments and give a comment or let them know you’re reading their blogs by pushing the Like bottom 🙂

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  3. Great post! In response to your Q2, I think it only polite to inform people before you reference them in your blog. Of course, this would be people you know, or a small local business! You can hardly ask permission from a multinational or a top celebrity just because you want to mention them.
    I guess it’s the perception of “public domain” – and then be careful what you say about them :-).

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    1. 😀 That’s what I meant! I reference Stephen Fry without fear, because I very much doubt he’d ever stumble upon this blog. ‘Course, if he did, he’d find nothing but love for him here. Still. Thank you for the advice!!

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  4. I think blogging should be like virtual interactions..Just like expressing my thoughts to people sitting in front of me..I love those blogs where I see many smileys ..They make me smile too and the reading process becomes easier…:) Other than that, I agree with most of things mentioned in your blog and in comment section..

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  5. My Why is to make friends. Hubby & I moved to Alberta in 2007 & except for a few people I worked with, I’ve made no new friends. The one friend I managed to keep outside of work met a new guy who doesn’t like my hubby so we don’t see each other anymore. I would go crazy without someone to talk to once in a while. I think this is why my posts often end in a question – I like to engage my readers & encourage them to write comments.

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    1. Aw, moving is harsh on friendships. I’ve moved around a lot, though, and I can say that it seems like friends are everywhere if you look for them. Have you tried Craigslist or Meetup.com? 😀 That’s a great bit of advice in there too– “engage with your readers!” 🙂

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  6. Most of the people I know are non-bloggers and non-blog-readers. It’s partly a generational thing, although many of my online friends are about my age. I’m afraid I bore people to death telling them about my blog. The kind and interested ones have a look once or twice and perhaps give me some feedback. I really value my email subscribers who are people I know.
    I have been in social situations twice this week and managed not to mention blogging – although I would have done if one friend had not been in a hurry to leave! And in British culture we do not promote ourselves, so this is counter-cultural for me. Sue

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    1. Same! Though my generation should be in the blog-world, they aren’t. I’m pretty sure I bore people about my blog, too. Out of the 5 or so real life people who know I have a blog, I don’t think any read. Except the hubby, except.

      American culture accepts a little more self-promotion than most cultures, I’ve discovered, but because of that acceptance, people “hear” a little less well. There’s lots of nodding and “good for you”, but no real action.

      I’m still trying to find the magic sentence that makes someone say, ‘Oh, that’s interesting.” and mean it. 🙂

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        1. Not at all, Sue, use whatever you’d like from my page whenever you’d like it! Mi blog es su blog! 🙂 Looking forward to whatever you come up with. 😀

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  7. I am with Laura – be yourself. If you have others follow you (who comment) – they are interested, if they don’t they are notching up their stats. My writing is varied or should I say all over the shop (as you know). It is comforting to know that when we first start out that we actually have the ability to interest others (no matter the genre). So I shall keep on rambling and if I am followed I am tinkled pink. If not …nothing will stop me rambling so it doesn’t enter the equation 😉 How was that for a Mumsy Ramble?? xx Great post as usual my friend.

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    1. I love your rambles! They are delightful. 😀 Be yourself is fantastic advice, and remembering that we all have something to offer is brilliant as well. Thanks for your thoughts!!

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  8. I am in the middle here-not blogged enough to call myself experienced but too long to be a newbie…You have be yourself—people like to connect to real people. Having said that…don’t be yourself in order to get more people to visit, just leave the door to your blog open and leave the kettle on and you will be surprised at the response.

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    1. I’m probably somewhere in the middle, too. I haven’t been at it a full year, but I’ve posted over 400 posts, so … I’m a novice, dilettante, an abecedarian. I love the advice to be welcoming and not obsess about having visitors. The kettle’s always brewing around here! 😀 Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  9. Ill have a listen to that TED talk later. good thought provoking post to a prompt I ignored. I wonder if that is why I am feeling a bit blergh about my own blog, perhaps it is because I don’t truly know the “why”.

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  10. That was an excellent TED talk! Why always beats what! The only way you can be innovative like the Wright brothers is to do something for the right reasons.

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    1. I know, I love that one. TED is awesome in general, but I love when I find one that really applies to life in general. The right reasons always beat the obvious advantage– and that’s awesome! 🙂

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  11. I know I’m not popular with other bloggers, but my stats prove otherwise. I’m not about awards and “likes” because I know a lot of them are fake anyway, people just getting me to read their blogs. It always cracks me up when someone starts following my blog without even reading the “About” section. That’s the first thing I go to. And if I really like a blog, I’ll go as far as spending a good two hours reading the whole thing. Another thing I hate to see is when someone presses “like” after 5 blogs in a row — some of them quite lengthy — it’s like you can’t possibly be reading all that.

    My blog has no purpose. And I’m writing for a living anyway, so who do I have to impress.

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    1. Your comment here intruiged me, and so I popped over for a read. I was an 80’s glam rocker too, but my story isn’t remotely as interesting as yours! You’re a braver girl than I am – I couldn’t have coped with all that attention, so being friends with Motorhead’s Wurzel was enough for me!

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    2. You’re not popular? You seem like you know what you’re doing to me! 🙂 To be fair though, I never read the about section– it’s typically quite boring and anything important will be referenced in the first few posts. I remember reading yours only because you mentioned something briefly and I didn’t understand, so I sought more info. 🙂 Also sometimes I like 5 pages in a row, only because I read them and get distracted hitting the “next” or “previous” button and forget that I didn’t “like” anything till the end. I’m not sayin’ everyone who does those things is legit, but I am saying that some might just be weirdos like me. 😀

      I like your devil-may-care approach to blogging. I’m quite similar about the process myself. If I had to worry about impressing people, I’d never blog! 🙂

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  12. Thought provoking post.

    I am new…having only been at it since September 2012. I blog for a number of reasons; am not on a self-imposed schedule and am grateful for having found like-minded and like-hearted individuals which now comprise a rich virtual community that I enjoy spending time with as I read the expressions of their hearts. As for etiquette, I attribute quotes to those who spoke or wrote them. If I choose to use someone’s name and they are not “in the public domain”, I ask if I may use their name or attribute a quote to them. Blogging is a wonderful way to express freely and I honor that freedom by being respectful of other as I write what I wish to share.

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  13. I am definitely not here to “collect people” (unlike some bloggers I know, who then completely ignore their audience). I began blogging with the initial attention of promoting awareness of epilepsy and autism, but realised that it would become a very dry and boring thing to read if I didn’t inject some humour and creative writing here and there (not to mention my insane passion for all things Doctor Who) and allow people to get to know me rather than just my disability. As a result I have been “discovered” by some well-known writers and artists – even a rock star’s mother! – but am aware that they follow me mostly for promotion and not just because I’m a reasonably talented writer and a nice person. In return, they promote me on various social media so all is well and good. I like helping people get themselves out there too 🙂

    When it comes to reviewing someone’s product (the Guest House I frequent, for instance) I always ask first. I can’t think of anything worse than surfing the net and discovering that somebody’s reviewed you and your work without permission, because that would just be rude and an invasion of privacy.

    When it comes to Epilepsy Action though, I use links to them with merry abandon because I’m known to them and they’ve asked me to. As a result, I find myself to be friendly with other members, and some of the bloggers I know have found me through the charity linking to any relevant posts!

    Crikey – I do go on, don’t I 😉

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    1. I found you through the Doctor Who passion, I believe, but I stuck around because of the blend of everything else. 😀 You’re right about permission, I shall do that if I ever choose to do local reviews! 🙂 I didn’t even think to ask charities for permission, I just assumed they’d want me to spread the word– and I do think they would. Thank you for your advice!

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  14. I love the challenging thought of “why?” It’s the most powerful question. I’m not going to let this one go….I think it will mean a change in my blog for the better. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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    1. Unless you’re aiming at/actually are making money I think all the whys ultimately boil down to ‘I want to and like it.’

      That’s my story anyway and I’m sticking to it…

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                1. I want to and I like it is a great why, though I think it always goes deeper– why do you like it? Why do you want to? 🙂

                  Also, you both are hilarious and awesome. 😀

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                  1. Why do I like it? It’s fun. While I enjoy the writing, I enjoy the interactions (such as this) even more. There is a huge community here that I just love. If it weren’t for t hat I doubt I’d still be doing this.

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  15. Such a good talk. I’ve sent that one to Chloe already. I think she’ll be the best and most inspired CMNS graduate in one year because her mother is such a pesterer! Oh well, what is it they say? No one ever got pregnant on information. 🙂 Love to you girl. Have a wonderful day.

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    1. How could she NOT be inspired with a mother like you? 🙂 I have never heard “No one ever got pregnant on information”, but I absolutely love it, haha! 😀

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  16. Answers:

    1) gun point
    2) deny
    3) 20 minutes

    legal disclaimer: not actually answers.

    Actually, how far is too far when it comes to promoting your blog – at what point do you start to seem pushy and conceited, like a pushy and conceited person who wants you to read their blog?

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    1. 😀 I love all your answers here, real or not. 🙂

      I’m really not sure! I don’t like it when people put their blogs as signatures of all their comments, but it’s great when a reader references a similar post. Anytime I’ve mentioned my blog in real life, I’ve seen the look of horror on people’s faces, like I’m gonna ask them to read it. 🙂 I’m not sure how to break that wall and whether or not it’s even important. 😀

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  17. Powerful stuff, indeed. Sometimes, the ‘why’ is hard to isolate. It is OK to have multiple reasons, I guess, as long as that doesn’t diffuse one’s effort too much.

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    1. 🙂 I agree! A lot of people have multiple ‘whys’. I think purpose comes through loud and clear, though, whether or not we intend for it to. 😀

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  18. I have a couple of blogs but the main one I started to write because I got diagnosed with breast cancer last November and I was overwhelmed by the news. I am not someone who finds it easy to share strong emotions with people around me and the anonymity of the bloggosphere suited me. I sometimes feel like I have to live up to the strong, bubbly person everyone knows and expect and breaking down in front of them because I am scared that my body is turning against me was too much for me. I also started the blog so I could keep my friends and family updated about the progress of my treatment without having to call everyone every day and talk about it non stop….thanks to it I have found many people who share similar experiences and it made things easier for me to deal with and allowed me to get my smile back.
    Now, I have a question: how long before you can stop calling yourself a newbie? Is it a time issue or a number of posts or number of followers??? What do you think?

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    1. So your purpose and ‘why’ is about finding a safe haven for your emotions and voice. That’s a lovely purpose! 🙂 I’m glad you’ve found people who can help get your smile back! 🙂

      No idea on the newbie question! I still feel like a newbie, because many of the people I follow have those snazzy “1 year of WP” badges, and I’m still not at that mark. So I guess in my head, it’s after a year. 🙂

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  19. If I had to give a new blogger any advice, it’d be to sign up for a bunch of blogs as commenter first, then go onto writing at a later date. If nothing else, you suck in a bunch of gullible folk who think you might actually have something to say.
    As to why? Heck, I’m still trying to figure out why anybody would want to listen to my dreck. Why do I blog? ‘Cause I annoyed too many people, and they told me to go write my own crap instead of clogging up their blogs with my nonsense.
    Maybe one of these days somebody can actually explain to me how a guy with WAY too much free time and diarrhea of the mouth (fingers?) actually developed a following…

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    1. You developed a following because you’re awesome. 😀 Simple as that.

      Great advice, John! I think that applies to the whole world, really, not just blogging– “listen first, talk second”. 😀

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      1. I need to hire you as my PR agent. All I meant was to annoy the piss outta others, one at a time, before doing it en masse, and you turned it into the absolutely lovely “Listen first, talk second”. I mean, DANG! “I have a delivery, one huge box of eloquence, for one Saur, Rara.” 😀
        Though I think you might’ve gotten the wrong suffix. Most people would correct you from “some” to “ful”. (Prefix “awe”, in case I lost ya there. 😉 )

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  20. Was Question 3 a dig at me??!! 😉 I did sort of forget I had that guest post from you… Oops. Sorry! Did you want it back?

    Love your “blog with a purpose” advice. I think you are definitely on to something there. Though, it would need to be something we continually analyze because as we grow as bloggers it could change with us, right? The reason I wake up and want to blog these days is very different from the “why” that got me started in August of last year…

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    1. Haha, I don’t dig. Rawr, nag, pester, remind, question– but no digging. Besides, that post would only make sense on your blog… so use it now, or in 5 years, whenever, haha. 🙂 My question was actually about compilation blog sites that never even responded to me… some I went ahead and posted, and then thought, “Was that rude?”

      I think reason is different from purpose. Your reason for blogging probably changes (like, in my case, I started to just put the stuff that I took down everywhere else, including all my favorite quotes and whatnot.. and it’s morphed into a whole different thing). But the Why tends to be the same– to create a venue for the thoughts I love to see. 😀

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  21. Excellent advice. I don’t have any answers to your questions. I don’t do promotion nor do I talk to people in real life. They’re scary. Hold me. 😛

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  22. This is the best advice anyone can give not just about blogging, but life in general.
    To tell the truth, I did not know why I blogged when I first started. I just knew that writers needed a social media platform. Then I found my why when I started to blog about peace. My life has never been the same since. I wake up in the middle of the night with new posts, new ideas, new inspiration, and new dreams. Imagine that “new dreams.” What can be more exciting than having new dreams?
    I also want to know the answer to your questions. One in particular is related to your first question. How do we expand our readership beyond WordPress? Even if that means readers from Blogger or other blog sites.
    I hope you share the answer to these questions with us if you find them, Rara.

    {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

    p.s.
    If you are a newbie, then I am bumfluff in a newbie’s underpants.

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    1. I have my blog posts linked to my FB page & to twitter. Every time I post, it automatically appears there. I think some people find me that way who are not on WordPress.

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      1. I did that as well, Benzeknees, until my FB friends started giving me heat for spamming them with everyday guru junk. haha. Like I’ve said before, I have my blog friends and my “real” friends and they mix like oil and vinegar. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

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    2. Your why is an inspiration, Kozo! I believe B4Peace has changed many lives. 😀

      For Blogger readers and others, I’ve noticed that participating in outside challenges like YeahWrite and Trifecta have pretty good results. 🙂

      Thank you, Kozo, for your thoughts, and of course I’ll let everyone know if I get any answers. 😀

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  23. Blogging with a purpose is great advice! A general schedule is a good idea, but if there’s no inspiration, it’s okay to skip a post. It drives me nuts when I read a post that basically says ‘I couldn’t think of what to write about, but I wanted to put something out here.’

    I’ve been blogging for over 3 years, so I’m not a newbie anymore….sadly, though, I still don’t have answers to your questions. I’m horrible at marketing myself – people I know in real life don’t even know I have a blog!

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    1. I agree. Or a post that is basically an apology for not posting. It’s okay, I always want to say– just move along to the post. 😀 Other than my husband, only two of my friends know I have a blog. I’d like to work on a better system, but I haven’t quite solved that riddle yet. 🙂

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  24. Very nice. I’ve since launched a new site and I’ve been struggling to find out why I did it in the first place. I loved the stuff I was writing about before. The content is similar, but different in that it’s going to be more focused. I’m super random so I feel like I’ve lost the essence in my writing and boxed myself in.

    But I’m slowly getting re-inspired and this is exactly what I needed.

    Thanks!

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  25. Thanks for the wonderful post. Blog loving and sincere comments always helps. The other thing that I noticed worked wonders for me, is turning up at any organized blogmeets. it helps to know your fellow bloggers especially if you live in one zip code.

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  26. I have been blogging for just over a year, and what started as an experiment became an obsession, then a relaxing way to communicate and meet new people. My purpose is still obscure, and I’ve been working with that, but I blog what I do, and I get to do interesting things. I enjoy giving people credit for what they do in my life, and that is one way I get readers. Local people like to read about what I’m learning. I have a card I hand out, and I also just use word of mouth. I told a bookstore owner in San Francisco and a clerk at Ross today about my blog, and I have a feeling that both will visit my blog. I am getting new visitors and followers daily, and haven’t had time to be as hospitable as I like, but when I finally get some down time, I will go back and communicate with them. The other thing I do is keep track of my visits. That way I’m not forgetting people. It takes me a while to get around to everyone, but I do get there. The one thing I do daily no matter where I am is to respond to comments. That’s it for starters. 🙂

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    1. I love your ideas for a card and just people about it! I’m afraid I’m not quite that social. 🙂 I normally respond to comments immediately (though this one is frightfully late!) because I agree with you– it keeps communication going! 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts on this. 😀

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  27. My What changed recently, and it greatly affected my Why for the better. My subject matter in some ways became more broad, yet I find myself more focused. Before I felt like I was writing about a specific thing but without a purpose. Now I am writing with a purpose about no specific thing.

    I read somewhere in the comments that you never read the About pages because they’re boring. I am the opposite way — I love reading about pages! I always seek it out when I go to a new blog, and when a blog doesn’t have one, I notice. Even if they’re boring sometimes, I just like to know the author better. And I tried not to make mine boring 🙂

    I laughed when I saw your comment “Anytime I’ve mentioned my blog in real life, I’ve seen the look of horror on people’s faces, like I’m gonna ask them to read it.” I know what you mean. It’s awkward.

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  28. Great post,
    the “why” can be many things, and is not always obvious. Some people blog because it is an industrial answer to an industrial problem, some blog to improve stats, and some blog in a genuine effort to share insight or knowledge. I think for many it may also be a combination of reasons that can’t be defined by one specific thing.
    If the only measure of success is followers, then the Author is almost obligated to give the readership what it wants, Fox/CNN, newspapers anyone?

    I for one am glad there is such a great variety of material out there.

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  29. Brilliant Ra Ra…as always. I blog because I wanted to write my story…and it’s encouraging to have the feed back along the way. I always appreciate your visits and kind words. And hey we are FB friends now too!

    Like

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