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How to become part of a blogging ecosystem?

Spider webWhen I talk about blogging I often tell that it’s individual, but most of the good things that come out of it are the result of being part of a blogging ecosystem. Which often brings questions on how to do so.

The ecosystem is all about connections – between people and online bits (if you are academically-inclined you might be interested to read Blogging Practices: An Analytical Framework by Jan Schmidt, at least in the part that discusses relations). To make those connections two things are important: what tools do you use and what do you do with them.

To get an idea of what tools are in the play, I suggest to browse through The Life Cycle of a Blog Post, From Servers to Spiders to Suits — to You. Then:

  • if you are blogging make sure your weblog software produces newsfeeds, notifies ping servers, sends and receives trackbacks, and allows search engines to index weblog pages
  • if you are introducing blogging inside an organisation make sure that your intranet includes weblog indexes, aggregators and search engines

Now to what you can do:

  • Read other weblogs – it’s essential to get to know people, to become inspired and to learn how the whole blogging thing works by watching others doing it.
    • find a couple of blogs (e.g. via blogsearch.google.com) and start reading them; follow links and you will discover more
    • get yourself a newsreader, subscribe to interesting blogs, but don’t be afraid not to read everything
  • Participate in conversations by writing and linking
    • comment! make sure comments are meaningful and leave link to your weblog
      • if you want to get an overview of all your comments you can try BackType
    • write good stuff and link to those who inspired you, when possible directly to a specific blogpost
  • Monitor
    • comments by subscribing to comment notification for your own blog (usually via your blog software) and comment discussions in other blogs that you want to continue
    • who links to your blog – if your blog software doesn’t do it take this example and put your blog address after link:
      • subscribing to the results via newsreader makes life easier
    • and then continue the conversation
  • Spread the word outside of blogging

All these looks like a lot of work. It is, especially in the beginning. With blogging – in the same way as in an offline life – relationship building takes time and effort.

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Web & IT security November 17, 2009, 04:18

    Become part of blogging network like MyBlogLog so people can follow your blog by topic.
    Use blog supporting services like Kachingle so people can support your blog. These are but two more ideas. My 2 cents.

  • Joost Robben November 17, 2009, 18:39

    Hi Lilia,
    If think you are absolutely right when you say that most of the good things that come out of blogging are the result of being part of a blogging ecosystem.
    I think this also counts for other networked tools such as twitter. Often, i hear other people “complaining” about twitter or blogging not being valuable and i just dont agree with them! The difference is yet, that i find it valuable through all the (worldwide) connections that i have online. Connections with people that i mostly dont meet in my daily life. One thing i like to share is that i really started to build on the network when i started participating in online events and course such as learntrends and cck08/09. Also, it is good to keep actively connected with people you meet in eg conference through the commenting on blogs, retweeting, sharing links etc.

  • Jeffrey Keefer December 3, 2009, 18:37

    Lilia, I have left this post unread in my feedreader as I keep on re-reading it to help me process your suggestions. Really great way of linking to other sites with some great suggestions (including those by Joost, above, who I have kept in touch with from having met at a conference several years ago, exactly as he mentioned).

    I am not familiar with the concept of a blogging ecosystem. Is that a term you coined, or is there literature out there about this? I am asking as in some ways this reminds me of a combination between a community of practice and a networked learning system. How do you see it?

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