From Creation to Achivement: the other 5 Stages of Blogging

blogging

This post is in response to Ken Newsome’s post, which you should read first.

I like Kent Newsome, he’s always got tons of great stuff to comment on, I mean really, check his archives.

He’s got an interesting set of points about blogging that is true for the majority of bloggers out there before you continue on, read his piece From Creation to Abandonment: the 5 Stages of Blogging. I wanted to share some of the learnings that I’ve gone through in blogging since 2005, in hopes of helping others.

Kent shows the disparity that one can have in the process of blogging, and the subvert tactics that a blogger may try to take out of desperation. I understand, but it’s key not to participate in those link farms, blog carnivals or other sub-standard methods, why? because everyone else is doing them.

From Creation to Achievement

Here’s an Alternate path to take than the one’s Kent has listed out


Step 1: Excitement

Read Kent’s Post

Step 2: Expectation
Read Kent’s Post

The following stages are my suggestions on where you can take your blog:

Stage 3: Focus
This means finding your area of expertise that you’re going to write about. What are you an expert at? Focus in on that like a tight laser. It took my 6 months to find out my focus. For those first six months I was all over the map, talking about everything on techmeme, which of course meant I was talking about nothing. I realized later that I wanted to talk about how corporations use the web to reach customers and I redesigned my site and started to target in. For you, you’ll find your area that you want to drill down on. Focus. This is key

Stage 4: Passion
Passion can take place in a number of ways, from frequency of posting, to adding media, to writing with authority. Attend events related to your Focus, read the people in my Focus, and talk about your Focus. I think about my Focus area all the time, except when with friends and family. If you start to think about your focus all the time, and do everything you can to make it better you will start to get noticed, your passion will bleed through. Believe me, I had a lot of critics to my blogging activities, even people that had web careers that I would have expected to support me, I barreled on past them. Stay passionate, there’s so many great things that will come out of this, now on to stage 5.

Stage 5: Achievement

When your passion starts to bleed out of your blog, you’ll start to write and come up with solutions or ideas that no one else has. Start covering events in your Focus area and give attention to the individuals and companies in your market. Soon, they’ll start to invite you to events, the chance to speak, and then exclusives you can have on your blog. You’ll start to get more and more exclusives in your focus. If there’s one thing I can tell you it’s that: One thing leads to another and you’ll start to outbehave your competition. something small will lead to something bigger, then bigger, and soon you’ll be getting paid to speak internationally.

Related: I recently had a 1 year blog birthday for this domain that you’re reading, I published all my stats about this blog in public too, and will continue to do so over time. I also used to help my former large company with it’s business blogging program, I published a bunch of tips, some of them are still good. Now I help other companies and individuals with their blogging and social media strategies.

  • Pingback: metablogging.gr » Blog Archive » Τα πέντε στάδια του ιστολογείν

  • http://sethf.com/infothought/blog/ Seth Finkelstein

    Jeremiah, the problem with your diagram is that focus and passion don’t counteract mathematics. That is, we all can’t stand out from the crowd – somebody has to be the crowd. So there is a lottery-like nature which produces huge inequality, even per-topic. A problem is that marketers tend to react to this by preaching Try-Harder!, and berating and exhorting everyone to keep buying lottery tickets and think happy thoughts. And there’s a very dark side to that, because since everyone can’t win, the explanation of the evangelist tends to drift to telling the alienated that they must have had unhappy thoughts, so that’s the reason they didn’t win.

    If you respond, please address the mathematical argument. Almost by definition, a competition for attention beyond a few readers is going to have a lot of people working their hearts out and ending up with very little return.

  • http://www.loudmouthman.com Nik Butler

    What a fantastically positive insight into choice. Im probably not the most conisitent of bloggers but I have found that Focus and Passion are an important part about what you write and why you write it. I can understand frustration and alienation but then again its better if they dislike you than ignore you.

    Ive Starred and Tagged this to come back to as usual.

    Cheers

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Thanks Nik!

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Seth

    No where did I say this can be achieved by everyone.

    If you want to stand out from the crowd, be different, and give a lot of work into it.

    I’m speaking from experience here, so this may be anecdotal, therefore I won’t be answering this mathematically.

    In no way am I saying this is easy, or won’t take up a lot of time (it’s pretty much consumed me) but I damn well believe the payoff is worth it.

  • http://www.livedigitally.com Jeremy Toeman

    Jeremiah, I think your additional path is absolutely on the money. I’ve added my own thoughts and a few other steps on the path myself: http://www.livedigitally.com/2007/07/01/from-creation-to-revival-or-malaise-the-other-stages-of-blogging/

  • Pingback: Jeremy Toeman’s LIVEdigitally » Blog Archive » From Creation to Revival or Malaise: the other stages of blogging

  • http://www.loudmouthman.com Nik Butler

    Can I respond to mathematics ?

    Seth you may be interested in this and similar books http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/routledg/sinq/2006/00000049/00000002/art00003?crawler=true
    Or you may already be a keen pundit on the issues of social science and applied maths.

    I like to think the feeling is what enumerates in the condition of the writing. The passion and the belief in the topic have few is any subjective real nominal values which you could appropriately scale.

    Of course we could review this whole blogging exercise as a marketing or sales process. With enough input at the top of the funnel we are bound to get some sustained interest and buy in at the bottom of the funnel. At which point its a numbers and plateau game of feed/rinse/repeat.

    Id like to think this post from Jeremy indicates a strong belief that a persons views are more important than a group acceptance and that individuality is what sustains the blog and builds the community which generates the interest. This in turn reminds me of a comments I saw today

    “Be A Sheep and live in conformity and safety surrounded by people like you”,” Be a Wolf and live alone deciding for yourself your own actions”. ” But choose one and choose carefully”

    I cannot imagine any successful blogger has ever succeeded by being a Sheep, but then Im happy to be the Wolf and ive no idea what Sheep life is like.

    there thats my rambling 2cents and a penny.

    Thanks for reading.

  • http://sethf.com/infothought/blog/ Seth Finkelstein

    Jeremiah, for any given topic, in practice there’s just a few “different” things that can be said about it. So we’re back to the lottery-like problem, where it’s possible to work and work and work, yet still basically get nowhere. What then? (please don’t say “work harder”, that’s no solution to the mathematical problem).

    Do you know the issue of “survivorship bias”? One of the problems with blogging is that to some approximation, eventually the only people left talking about it are those who believe it’s worth it (even if, objectively, it isn’t!).

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    For many of the bloggers I know that have gone into the achievement stage, is that they did two things in their writing 1) be interesting or 2) add value.

    It’s somewhat intuitive that they don’t follow the norm of all the other ‘big hump’ bloggers.

    Seth, while sure, there’s only so many ways that a blogger can say something different, the ones who are first often reap many of the rewards, to get there, one has to work harder, sorry, it’s true.

    Survivorship bias? It’s possible that blogging will evolve to new tools, but guess what? The profile and reputation of the blogger moves to the next tool. It’s happened in twitter and now starting to happen in facebook.

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Jeremy, your third mini-path is interesting. Some bloggers aren’t just about shouting to others but also about self-learning. For those that love to learn they’ll never get bored.

  • http://sethf.com/infothought/blog/ Seth Finkelstein

    Jeremiah, the point is that HOW MANY bloggers who “be interesting” or “add value” get to the achievement stage? Mathemically, it can’t be everyone, unless one takes an unfalsiable position that makes it true by definition (i.e. claiming that if the blogger didn’t succeed, he are she wasn’t worthy, since every blogger who succeed was worthy).

    Again, you’re not addressing the mathematics, you keep repeating what I refer to as berating and exhorting (“one has to work harder, sorry, it’s true”).

    “Survivorship bias” means that the view is distorted by not considering all the events which fell by the wayside, and so reaching a misleading conclusion.

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    I think I understand what you’re asking.

    Blogging communities will segment into different camps based around topic areas (from web strategy to swimming in Montana) this is what “focus” is about.

    As a blogger, you apply passion (and of course leads to content that provides interest and value) will make the blogger into the achivement stage.

    Take for example Brian Stephen’s Chocolate blog, he focuses on the creation of chocolate, only a small number of people find his content very interesting.

    He’s focused, passionate and If you do a google search on Chocolate blog, he comes up very high on the results.

    Does this make sense? If you’re asking for a finite number the answer is 12.

  • http://www.technologyevangelist.com Benjamin Higginbotham

    Lets look at television for an example here. With the exception of the Superbowl, some of the highest paid advertisements go into the lowest viewed shows. Whaaaa?

    The early morning political/financial shows reach a very, very long-tail audience. There are a few of them on that the few people who watch have a choice between them which dilutes the viewers even more. The people who do watch are the movers and shakers in big business and the advertisers want their attention… badly. Very specific advertisers will and do pay top dollar for the ability to get in front of these people with the hopes that even one will someday act on an ad.

    So too may this happen in blogging/podcasting/videocasting. Items on the long tail can be just as valuable and rewarding that those that reach hundreds of thousands if not millions of readers. It’s keeping that passion and excitement going that will keep the blog going. From there the blogger will get a very focused group of people who want to read what they have to say. It may or may not make money, but now they are connected with people whereas they were not connected before. There’s a dynamic connection of users who are all contributing to a cause of sorts. At that point numbers simply don’t matter, it’s more emotional than logical.

    There can be an infinite number of these long-tail blogs but only a finite number of super popular blogs. The rewards are different but so too are the people. In the end I don’t think numbers really matter that much in a world of highly focused and niche content delivered directly to people who have similar interests. I think we’ll find that the bloggers/podcasters/videocasters who create content based on passion and excitement rather than focusing on getting huge numbers will actually grow past those who only worry about the numbers and audience.

    I believe it was this Podcast where Robert X. Cringely talks a bit about his success and how numbers simply don’t matter: http://tinyurl.com/39kr69

  • http://sethf.com/infothought/blog/ Seth Finkelstein

    Jeremiah, let me try to make it simple: Every day, someone wins the lottery. There’s story in the newspaper, “XYZ won!”. But there aren’t any stories saying “ABC played, and played, and played, and didn’t win”. This is true no matter the size of a lottery, whether it’s a community raffle, or a statewide jackpot.

    Saying “you apply passion … will make the blogger into the achivement stage”, doesn’t tell how many people applied passion and hard work and focus and optimism AND STILL GOT *NOTHING*! The mathematics indicates this must be the case for many, since everyone can’t be above average. It’s even worse in the bogussphere, since only a few people can be in the Big Head of the power-law curve (and this is true no matter what the topic).

  • http://www.newsome.org Kent Newsome

    Good post Jeremiah, and thanks for the kind words and conversation.

    I tend to view things from a mathematical perspective, and accordingly agree with just about everything Seth says. But I also think that your steps 4-6 are relevant and logical.

    I suspect, however, that they are largely symptoms of some other causative element as opposed to the cause itself. For example, if a blogger in my stage 2 either (a) gets his number called and starts getting some in-crowd traction, or (b) isn’t as concerned with inclusion and readership, he may very well evolve to your step 3 and onward. But if he is interested in those things and on the wrong side of the statistics, he may have a hard time staying the course long enough to get there.

    On the other hand, thinking about your steps 3 and 4 during my stages 2 and 3 will likely increase the chances of getting there. The question is how much (and I don’t know the answer, but math and human nature as it plays out in the remote and semi-anonymous blogosphere tells me the odds are still bad).

    I also think finding your focus is much more of a challenge for those of us whose blogs are largely unrelated to our careers. For example, I’m a lawyer by profession, a partner at a large firm, and have a very high profile in the legal industry- speaking at 10-15 conferences a year, including on both coasts. If advertising restrictions, rules of confidentiality and my strong desire not to extend my job even further into my free time didn’t prohibit me from blogging about legal stuff (uh, how boring), I could talk about my blog in my legal papers, articles and speeches, put a link to my legal bio at the end of every post and my blog would quickly be among the leaders in that area (and I would be bored out of my mind). But since there is so little overlap between my blog and my job, I don’t have the ability to leverage off of my existing reputation and credibility. Which means that I blog about things that interest me- which are varied.

    In other words, those who have no particular (direct or indirect) commercial/career related goal for their blogging often don’t want to narrow their focus beyond a certain point, and have a harder time competing with those with more career/blog overlap if they do. They also don’t have the luxury of attending and speaking at conferences unrelated to their jobs, so the possibility of attending and speaking at conferences is limited. Not to mention that if you don’t drink the kool aid, you won’t get invited to speak anyway.

    Thanks again for the kind words and the conversation.

    P.S. Don’t forget to give me your swivel feeds recommendations.

  • http://www.thewavingcat.com Peter Bihr

    Seth said: “for any given topic, in practice there’s just a few “different” things that can be said about it. So we’re back to the lottery-like problem, where it’s possible to work and work and work, yet still basically get nowhere.”

    Agreed, for any topic, there may be a finite number of things. (Although that number is rather big, I assume, at least for complex issues.) But that’s not the main point.

    But, Seth, I may be missing a point (in which case I’d like to apologize), but I think it might help to re-phrase the underlying question…

    The question shouldn’t simply be “who wins this game by standing out”, but “who wins by the whole game”? And, very simplified, I’d say: Everybody can win here. If there’s many people discussing the same issue, everybody coming from a slightly (or very) different background, then what happens is: The knowledge grows. We don’t have to split up the available knowledge, or the knowledge gains. The more people participate in the discussion, the more knowledge we can create.

    I highly recommend at least these two sources when it comes to understanding the sharing economy (which you probably know anyway): The guys over at the P2P Foundation have a great blog, and Yale law professor Yochai Benkler has written the mind-blowing book The Wealth of Networks (which is available as a free download)…

    Cheers,
    P.

  • http://www.ddmcd.com Dennis McDonald

    One comment I would make to Seth is that there are a lot of “long tails” out there. Some of the tails are very narrow, and some are very broad.

    Put another way, consider a simple two dimensional matrix with the X axis being labeled “Pond Size” and having two regions, “Big,” and “Small.” Consider the Y axis being labeled “Fish Size,” with two regions “Big” and “Small.” Not everyone can be a “big fish in a big pond,” since some of the ponds are really small.

  • http://www.digiscrapinfo.com/dsiwiki/DigiScrapInfo Connie Bensen

    Thanks Jeremiah for putting a positive spin on the Stages of Blogging. The new graphic could represent a career path too (related to Seth Godin’s book, The Dip).

    As some of have said – what is the blogger’s purpose? Maybe everyone doesn’t want fame & fortune? Many people use the blog to express their personal lives. It would be interesting to see stats relating why people started their blog & their longevity? Does such a study exist?

    I like where you chose to head towards Stage 3 Jeremiah, because I agree that 1) blogging is hard work (are people willing to commit?); 2) requires continual learning to get to that point (I doubt if it comes naturally to most people – are you willing to do your research & focus?); 3) and ultimately the web is composed of communities/niches if you will. I’m translating marketing info over to our community. Initially I never intended that, but I’ve found that these people are hungry to learn ways to improve their online stores & blogs, but aren’t reading the A-1 listers. (sorry guys, but that’s how it is.) For me I like how Jeremiah translates & updates his readers on what some of the big bloggers are doing (& his opinion adds a nice twist).

    I think that if a person starts blogging with the intention of sharing information they will be more inclined to continue & feel like they’re succeeding vs expecting to be famous for… (like coming out of H.S. & saying I’m going to play pro sports, but what are the odds? Ah, there’s the math again. The odds are pretty low on that one.). My satisfaction in my blogging has been networking with people in my community that I respect. If you word hard there will be perks. I just posted about a book & the author left a comment. Now that’s a great feeling! (Guy Kawasaki wrote the afterword)… It’s all about commitment and if you want satisfaction then maybe ask yourself why you’re doing it? That may be a prediction of how long it will last.

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    So many great ideas, perspectives and viewpoints here, I’m really glad I got involved in this meme.

    Seth, I concur with Dennis McDonald and Benjamin. Not everyone needs to be an A-Lister in the top Technorati 1000 to have achivement. Being an A-lister in their focus area may be good enough, Brian is likely very happy and has achieved a lot as one to the top chocolate bloggers.

    In summary, I think we agree: not everyone can be the best in their area of topic (macro or micro-tail) but focus and passion are big factors in reaching achivement. I’m sure there are many other factors.

    I also sense you’re jaded by the “bogusphere”, whereas I am not, I’ve networked, learned so much, and have made monetary and career benefits.
    I can only speak from experience here.

  • http://ericrice.com Eric Rice

    We must be cautious at terms like ‘what you are an expert at’ because, as I experience ALL the time, when helping out novice bloggers, things like that scare the hell out of them.

    Once upon a time, it was actually okay to write about cheese sandwiches, no expertise needed.

    When we harp on expertise, we run the risk of stifling those that might just want to express, and find expertise later.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    Jeremiah, the mathematics applies *PER TOPIC*. Even chocolate. Even knitting. I keep making this point and it’s just not heard, because of the impulse to respond with a platitude of be-happy-in-your-little-niche.

  • http://markharrison.wordpress.com Mark Harrison

    Seth,

    I think you make a good point, but one that is hardly restricted to blogging.

    I blog about something I know well (UK real estate investment, or property investment as we call it over here.) I’m nothing like an A-lister, probably an E- or an F-lister in the grand scheme of things. However, in my niche – UK real estate investment – I’m the number one blog! And blogging has helped me firstly become a BETTER investor (because of what I’ve learnt from people commenting on my blogs) and promoted sales of my consultancy / training, ironically not only in property investment but also in web marketing(!)

    Blogging, though, is like buying property to rent out. The market conditions are such that ANYONE can do it. The market conditions are NOT such that EVERYONE can do it – by definition each landlord needs a tenant per property, so there always have to be more tenants than landlords!

    The mathematics are simple:

    - ZERO of those who don’t blog will create extra customers through blogging
    - X% of those who do blog will create extra customers through blogging

    The important questions are:

    - How do I make X bigger?
    - Is X big enough that I should concentrate on blogging rather than other methods of reaching my customers?

    Jeremiah’s blog tackles the first head-on – how we can all, as businesses, improve the experience we have with our customers (and vice versa).

    The second I don’t have an answer to, but I can say that my own experience has shown that blogging is an important part of the marketing mix for me.

  • http://markharrison.wordpress.com Mark Harrison

    … and yes, on re-reading my comment, I realise that I’ve confused the nature of X. Sadly, I can’t edit my comment :-(

    X in the last two bullet points is “revenue per hour spent blogging”.

    It’s all about marginal utility of time, irrespective of whether I end up A-list or Z-list.

    Or put another way, it’s not about whether I have more traffic than Paris Hilton, but about whether I get more customers through blogging than through standing on a street corner holding up a sign saying “golf sale”… or whatever other marketing iniative I could choose.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    Mark, and my point is that there’s a cadre of confidence men and snake-oil sellers around blogging, who know that a huge number of people will be worse off for doing it, but take advantage of people’s aspirations for their own (the con-men’s) profit. In your analogy, it’s like the hucksters who sell the “Get Rich In Real Estate” courses. They find one or two people who were in the right place in the right time, parade them around (“Z made a fortune! Learn how you can to!”) and use the exact line we see above – Work hard, offer value, blah blah blah. To avoid the pbvious straw-man, of course some suckers act out of their own greed. But that doesn’t excuse the marketers who prey on human foibles.

  • http://markharrison.wordpress.com Mark Harrison

    Seth,

    OK – now I understand where you’re coming from.

    It can be nigh on impossible to tell, without getting to know a given “expert”, what they truly believe.

    In my own area, I _do_ sell information products. I suspect that a relatively high proportion of people who buy my product discover that, in fact, to make good money in real estate, you have to work incredibly hard… and therefore DON’T go ahead… and therefore are worse off to the tune of a set of CDs. However, I don’t consider this a “bad” thing – indeed, I consider it significantly better that someone would spend some time learning, and then decided to not go ahead than that the same person should jump in, unaware of the dangers, and lose their life’s savings.

    I’m aware of others in my area who teach what I consider to be sensible, mature approaches, that minimise the risks and maximise the probability of good return.

    I’m aware of others in my area who teach that “making money is easy in real estate”, and go on to fleece the aforementioned “trainee” of their life savings.

    There is a fine line in any business-related “teaching” to distinguish between “how do I do X better” and “should I actually do X at all?”

    I’ve never met Jeremiah, but from his writing, I get the impression that he truly believes that he has something useful to share, and that his methodologies for engaging with customers are something from which many companies could benefit. I think he’s right – the information transparency that the Internet provides is transforming the way that customers get information about potential suppliers, and methods of customer communication developed in an era when there was a mass market no longer work in an era when we have mass customisation.

    While you may consider Jeremiah’s post to be naive, I can’t help feel that it is exactly the message that many corporate marketing hacks need to hear.

    However, where I can’t find common ground with you is any suggestion that this particular blog is written to fleece people…

    Perhaps I am the naive one, and it will indeed turn out that Jeremiah is a raging monster rampaging out of control over the Internet, and sucking in droves of sheep to be fleeced… I suspect not, however :-)

    Out of interest, are you happy with my “marginal utility of time” thesis about why blogging has a place in the marketing mix?

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Seth

    Out of curiousity, Who are you referring to as blog snake oil salesmen?

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    Sigh. I really shouldn’t do this argument. I know how it goes.

    There’s various levels of hucksterism – from cynical liars to troubled hopers to the Kool-Aid overdosed. Think of faith-healers. Some are in it as blatant manipulation, some try to resolve the conflict between what they believe and what they know, and some are just plain deluded. That holds true for religious evangelists and for blog evangelists. The problem is that both the liars and the true believers will say similar things protesting how could anyone doubt their honesty.

    I’m not going to name names. There’s no point. It’s a distraction from the mathematics that in a lottery, even a small lottery, a few end up with a lot while many get nothing. How people deal with that varies, and there’s no point in calling out anyone in specific in this thread (hence it was not a personal attack).

  • http://civilities.net/people/JonGarfunkel Jon Garfunkel

    Jeremiah,

    Regarding the snake-oil salesman, perhaps Seth was referring to the new gatekeepers: he had linked to it in his post (and it was my discussions with Seth two years back which inspired me to write that series).

    I’ll disagree with Seth one point (significant as we agree on a lot); I think he had too quickly ignored the wildly different flavors of blogging (a point he has made before). There is the diary-style (serving oneself) and the persuasive-mode (serving others). In the persuasive mode there are two further types of basic activities: “sales marketing” and “idea development.” (These are admittedly different, and perhaps much more clear, than my earlier work on blogger archetypes)

    Someone who is marketing their own services (such as Mark H. above, and perhaps yourself) can rightly well claim many of the benefits about using a blog to reach a wider audience. One can also spend their time on mailing lists, or leaving comments on other blogs; generally having your own blog helps build a brand identity.

    Where Seth comes from is the discipline of “idea development.” Seth (and others, like Kent Newsome, Tristan Louis, myself, and others) are not professional web marketers. Personally speaking, it’s more of an intellectual pursuit to develop ideas and throw them into the wind. Many political bloggers are trying to get new ideas as well– though they find themselves competing against the “new gatekeepers” of political punditry, many of whom are now political consultants/operatives.

    This is not to say that the “idea development” is a holier discipline. It’s a tougher discipline, and one often has higher expectations of success. And if one truly wants to lead an idea movement, one is often has to devote themselves full-time to the sales/marketing aspect.

  • http://blog.immeria.net S.Hamel

    Your post reminds me of something I wrote back a few months ago about the lonely life of bloggers (http://blog.immeria.net/2007/02/lonely-life-of-bloggers.html) When I started blogging in October 2002, I did it out of curiosity and, as an emergency first responder, I wanted to share my experience with others.

    Now I’m blogging about web analytics and I do it as a hobby. My blog is not ranking very high and I have never monetized it, but it’s nevertheless a very good social and professional networking tool that brings me a lot of satisfaction.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    Jon, I’m not ignoring diary-writers, it’s just not relevant to this discussion. Indeed, it’s one of the tedious marketing tactics.

    “I want to reach people, and a blog is not working“.
    “But little Z-lister, you can WRITE A DIARY”
    “I don’t want to write a diary. My purpose in blogging is to be heard, and I’m not”.
    “There’s many people who are happy writing a blog diary”.
    “But I’m NOT DOING THAT!”
    “Z-lister, are you *CRITICIZING* writing a diary? You think there’s something wrong with it, huh?”
    “No, no, I’m sure there’s many people who are happy, but it’s not what I want to do”.

    etc. etc.

    I keep thinking I should write a FAQ, but nobody much would read it :-(

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Seth

    you’ve some very interesting perspectives, you should write that FAQ.

  • http://www.digitalstreetjournal.com Jonathan Trenn

    It would seem to me that the blogosphere is big enough to satisfy both arguments here. For some, having a relatively successful blog may be establishing a few relationships of note and passing info back and forth.

    For others, Seth is spot on. You hit a plateau or a glass ceiling or some sort of barrier. You or your blog ends up not having the panache to move up higher. Some of the ‘gatekeepers’ help make this so by not engaging you in conversation via your comments…they only address comments by people on their ‘level’ or above.

    Blogging takes time. It takes work. Got kids? A family? A job? A life? For some, if they’re not receiving the emotional benefits from it, it aint’ worth it to keep on typing away.

    For others, the passion of what they write about and the exchange of ideas with whomever they’ve met is clearly enough.

  • http://civilities.net/people/JonGarfunkel Jon Garfunkel

    Seth — the operative distinction I was drawing here was between marketing-type blogging and idea-type blogging. If you’re marketing, then a small gain is an acceptable victory. So the conversation goes more like this:

    “You need to market yourself!”
    “Well, I’m not really taking on clients; I have other work to do. I’m just trying to contribute to the marketplace of ideas.”
    “Still, you need to market yourself!”

  • http://www.digitalstreetjournal.com Jonathan Trenn

    Could it be that Seth is reacting to those that have evangelized the idea that practically everyone’s voice can be just as powerful as the next person’s? That it you complain about a particular product or expose a flaw, that you’ll be satisfied by the company’s response?

    Maybe Seth is sick of the hype, while others who continue to blog don’t do it because of the hype.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    Jonathan, close, a little more complicated. Remember, this thread started from Kent Newsome’s description of the frustration of the relatively unheard (audience-desiring) blogger, and Jeremiah’s marketing-type rejoinder.

  • http://markharrison.wordpress.com Mark Harrison

    Seth,

    Is the basic problem the following:

    Marketing logic 101:

    - Doing XXX is necessary
    - Therefore if you do XXX, you will succeed

    Compare:

    - You need to drink water every day to live
    - Therefore, if you keep on drinking water every day, you will carry on living

    This is what’s known in mathematical circles as confusing “necessary” and “sufficient”?

    “Lack of focus guarantees mediocrity” is NOT the same as “Focus guarantees success”.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    Mark, I agree – note the exact quote in comment #13

    “As a blogger, you apply passion (and of course leads to content that provides interest and value) will make the blogger into the achivement stage.”

    Which refuses to recognize that, mathematically, due to the exponential nature of attention distribution, only a few people can (per topic) get to the achievement stage, no matter what. So, repeating myself, it tends to turn into a berating and exhortation of the frustrated alienated Z-listers who have been conned by the marketers.

  • Pingback: about blogging « bianca’s edutech blog

  • Pingback: Web Strategy by Jeremiah » The conversation continues “the five stages of blogging”

  • Pingback: Good Luck With Your Projects » Focus In Blogging

  • Pingback: The Editor's Log

  • Pingback: All stages of blogging must lead to Nirvana! « Marketing Nirvana

  • http://scissormonkey.wordpress.com Thomas

    Thanks for the great post. I added your chart to a post I created on my first 54 days of blogging. I was heading down the frustration track which I did not want to do. Seeing your chart, reinforced the track I was trying to get back on and helped me refocus my efforts.

  • Pingback: Web Strategy by Jeremiah » Behind the Scenes of the Web Strategy Blog

  • Pingback: Stages of a blog, and some “vibe”… « Me, Life & Everything