Splitting up the Blog by Topic?

Splitting up the Blog by Topic?

I’ve been contemplating one of my Groundhog Day Resolutions today: “figuring out how to be a full-time writer and content creator”. I like the idea more and more. I’ll still get to make things so what I’ve learned up to now will not go to waste. However, it means establishing myself in a new niche. I could just jump on in and flounder around for a while, but I have a preexisting commitment to a personally important project. Therefore, it makes sense that I establish the new niche while maintaining my old one.

Serving the Audience

There have been a few new topics that I’ve been interested in writing about: motivation, relationships, and real-life stories. Motivation probably can fit in with the Productivity writing, as it is one of the assumed prerequisites for wanting to be productive in the first place. I already blog about this topic indirectly under Introspection too. The two new topics, relationships and real-life stories, are a little different because they are not about me or my direct experiences, but are about other people. Much of what I write about now uses myself as the reference point for discussion, because the only person who might get embarrassed is me; no one else is likely to get hurt or feel under the spotlight. I also can safely use my experiences as the basis for drawing whatever conclusions I have, so long as I am clear that this is where they’re coming from.

There’s a voice in my head that is telling me that when I start to write about other people, I need to keep this content separate from what you’re reading right now here in the main site and feed. There are several assumptions that I’m making:

  • Assumption 1: People are subscribed because of the productivity and process investigation, and skim through the occasional article on whatever crazy thing is on my mind.

  • Assumption 2: Adding content outside of this is somehow not desirable, because it further clouds the nature of the content on the website.

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p>These assumptions have constrained my writing in the past several months, as I’ve struggled both with my own identity as a creator and freelancer. I also know that I get a lot of traffic from productivity-oriented websites. More recently, however, I’ve come to the conclusion that I should just write about whatever happens to be on my mind, just like the old days, and just try to entertain and inform as I indulge my whims. The reason behind this conclusion is pretty simple: writing something is better than writing nothing. But even that statement requires contextualization; my value system tends to emphasize the production of anything interesting over the production of the right things. And from a marketing and branding perspective, writing about a multitude of topics just clouds “my online identity”, which is bad when it comes to helping consumers make the decision whether they are interested in reading or not. Ideally, my writing would convey a clear message with an identified need, focus, dream, and vision of the future. Therefore, it makes some sense to metaphorically create a new product line for stories and reporting, a spin-off if you will, to neatly contain my journalistic intentions. This keeps the main niche “safe” by not muddling with it, allowing the new niche to develop its own following while drawing on the existing associations of the parent brand.

Serving Myself

The other approach is to not worry about “packaging content for the efficient consumption by market segments” and just assume one thing: continuity trumps categorization. That continuity is me, my voice, and my perspective. This presumes–and I feel kind of embarrassed to even suggest this–that the reason people are here is because they just like reading about what’s on my mind, and that is enough. If that’s the case, I could write about anything I want, so long as I maintain the continuity in whatever way makes sense. For me, I think that comes down to the core beliefs that I have: sharing inspiration where I find it, documenting what I’ve learned, and being supportive of anyone who is trying to make a go of it. I really don’t write about productivity at all: I write about people who happen to be trying to be productive. What’s interesting to me is the motivation behind the productive urge, which is one reason why I want to start collecting more stories. Creating the tools that allow people to be more productive, myself included, is really an exercise in creating our own life stories.

However, not all stories have any relevance to anything. For example, today I heard a good one while hanging out at Starbucks, where someone was complaining about how she hates it when someone doesn’t leave the towel in the bathroom after taking a shower. I nodded in agreement, but then I realized that there was an variation in domestic household operations at work here: some families share one towel. You’re clean coming out of the shower after all. This was news to me, as my family has always had separate towels for each individual in the house. We took an impromptu poll, and apparently the “One Household, One Towel” rule was not uncommon in the very small set that we were able to sample. The very idea of a single-towel bathroom seems incredible to me, as I personally like my towel to be my own. My sister would probably agree, because she goes to great lengths to ensure her own towel is fluffy and maximally dry; she would become very upset if someone else used it “by accident”. But I digress…the point I’m trying to make is that this little side trip into communal toweling has nothing to do with what I topically write about. It’s just interesting to me. The “gracious host” in me imagines people who are patiently waiting for that software update to the Emergent Task Timer Online going out of their gourd every time they read a detailed article about how sharing towels is OK, but sharing facecloths is not (FYI: I am just taking a stand here on that issue). If he’s got the time to write about stupid towels, he certainly could be updating something USEFUL instead…

Taking a Poll

So I’m torn. I’m leaning toward NOT worrying about branding as the motivating force for a redesign, but nevertheless creating a separate content blog (accessible through this site, of course) for story collecting, random encounters, road food, and visits to new places. Some existing categories would also move, such as the Encounters category. If anyone has any strong opinions or insights into what the best approach would be, I’m all ears. The issues boil down to this:

  • Will moving non-productivity, non-design, and non-business content out of the main blog create a more optimal experience for both readers and myself?
  • Is “managing my personal brand” really so important that it dictates how I organize the content on this site?
  • Is it more important to write for myself or write for the audience?
  • What is the more worthy goal: creating a focused blog experience which can serve as a content platform for more commercial activities, or just creating what’s on my mind? This issue is really which is more important to me: success/commercialization (freedom) or writing for the sake of creating “good” content (recognition). Both are important, so maybe I am actually looking for a means to do both.

24 Comments

  1. rick 12 years ago

    well…. your tagline above say “I write about productivity and other methods of empowering ourselves.” If that’s what you’re going to attract people with, move the personal stuff that doesn’t play into that somewhere else. Being real and exposing some of the thoughts and struggles behind your quest is fine, but if you want this to become a blog about the stuff in your tagline AND you expect to attract and retain readers interested in that you can’t stray too far too often.

    This doesn’t mean becoming bland, impersonal or corporate – but it does mean recognizing that you’re producing a product that people need to find value in.

    Be VERY clear on what you’re doing the site for though… places like Copyblogger or Lifehacker are tip sites. They rarely talk about the process behind getting to the tip… they’re about the tips. The problem with productivity tip sites is they’re mostly common sense… so there some insight into common struggles being more productive would be interesting. So would musings on what being productive means in a new media world. Whether you can make this into a business… i don’t know.

  2. Petr Olmer 12 years ago

    David,

    I’ve already tried it both ways and I definitely recommend splitting. It is easier for readers, but also for yourself – to focus, to understand who your readers are.

    You can pretend you write for yourself, but there’s always the audience in your mind. However, it does not mean you cannot write what you want; recognition and success go hand in hand – well I guess you know it.

  3. Sarah Dillon 12 years ago

    David

    I think your suggestion to set up a separate content blog for a different niche of anecdotes, stories, thoughts, etc. is a good one. If nothing else, you might be able to more easily quantify and test this new strand (although I guess blog stats might offer you that anyway).

    I understand your continuity versus categorisation point, but I think content segmentation makes good sense – it shows you’re respectful and aware of the breadth of your audience. Most of us modulate our content offerings to varying degrees in our real-life interactions too, no matter how blended the various strands of our life – so why not take this approach online?

    A content segment doesn’t have to be a silo, of course, and overlapping one or more segments can only enrich the context around your overall online personality. I think bloggers who manage to communicate a strong, focussed brand while still maintaining a virtual personality that somehow rings true, have got this blend of content segmentation just right. It shows great maturity in managing online presence, and is something I spend a lot of time thinking about how I can achieve!

    And I’m sure I speak for many of your readers when I say your way of offering us insights into your thought processes, no matter how random, are a big part of what keeps us coming back :)

    Sarah

  4. Karen K 12 years ago

    David – Please keep with one blog.  If you tell personal stories that gives us a chance to see the world from your perspective. I love that.  Also, your blog will be more active/more posts.

    I love the towel story. It is one of the most interesting things I’ve read this week. 

    I prefer not to subscribe to too many blogs—especially two written by the same person.  You can have a category for stories/observations—like you said.  And, you can perhaps title the post in a way that those not interested (which I can’t imagine) could skip it.

    Thank you for being so audience focused.

  5. HED 12 years ago

    As for myself, I read your blog because I like your general curiosity and attitude towards many topics. IMO it wouldn’t be cool to reach davidseah.com to see only productivity/design/business content because it would not match the whole spectrum of your interests.
    I don’t own a blog because I’ve always told myself through the years that a blog should be focused/specialized to be read. And I am by no means a focused person. As a result I became more a spectator than an actor on the ‘net. But personal, open-minded, non-specialized blogs like yours showed me that keeping a multi-topic blog was possible.
    I would say : “keep the blog as it is”, because people who read your blog like they way you are :)

  6. Dan Schawbel 12 years ago

    You said:  Is “managing my personal brand” really so important that it dictates how I organize the content on this site?

    My Response: If you just be yourself then your brand will be managed. If you organize content to make yourself look good, it won’t have a great affect on you or your blog.

  7. bex 12 years ago

    You said you are “figuring out how to be a full-time writer and content creator.”  If you are going to be both of those you have to write while considering the audience.  If you don’t, you are only one of them.

    I believe you audience breaks down into three groups.  Your close friends/family, people who wish they were your friend, and your topic-oriented readers.  I suspect the third group is the largest.  Serve them.  If you are compelled to serve the first group, create a separate blog for that. (The second group needs to grow up and either meet you or stop being creepy.)

    With no malice, I can state I don’t know you.  I sincerely doubt we will ever meet. (In fact I have never even looked at the photo of you on your about page before today—is it new?).  Because of this I don’t want to know your random thoughts.  I read your writing because your interests overlap mine.

    It appears that some want to see the full you in your blog.  I don’t think that by splitting your blog you are changing who you are or creating a personal brand that isn’t you.  You are simply writing for an audience.  I read Walt Mossberg’s columns in the WSJ.  I have a feeling for who he is as it relates to technology.  I am not interested in his opinions on how many bath towels a family needs. (I also suspect you don’t care about my opinion on that topic either).

    If you write too much about the daily randomness of your life you will lose me as a reader.  Whether that is a real loss is something you have to decide.

    PS: Obviously stories used as a starting point for topical material are excluded.

    PPS: I wouldn’t avoid meeting you, I am just looking at statistical reality.

  8. Mark 12 years ago

    I have to assume you’re committed to keeping the blog on the home page for easy access and search optimization. Maybe the blog on the home page is pared down to the latest article in full-length, followed by headline links to the past 20 or so. In any case, wherever the core blog content is at home, it should be so in its entirety. You definitely need a wider layout that will let you put more content in parallel with equal emphasis (within that, different weight can implied through content styles.)

    Now, what about this: Above the fold, or in a single screen in a vertical slice of the home page, you establish 2 or 3 portal panels. These focus attention to productivity, to introspection, etc, and clicking through those loads pages that are themed/styled differently (maybe just a different sub-color scheme) and filter the running blog down to that subject matter (with filtered RSS feeds as well). That’d be easy to accomplish with categories, provide people direct access to content they’re most interested in (davidseah.com/productivity) but maintain your overarching brand on the home page as well.

  9. Dave Seah 12 years ago

    All: thanks for all the feedback! I think I see two distinct and non-exclusive threads emerging:

    1. Segmentation does help the audience understand what they’re getting, and it helps define the audience too. [Rick, Peter, Sarah]

    2. Some of the audience also finds the perspective from which I write enjoyable in itself, so segmentation just means more places to subscribe to. [HED, Karen].

    3. If I organize the site to reflect myself and to “look good”, branding takes care of itself, no worries [Dan]

    It’s interesting to look behind each principle too:

    1. Do I want to have a well-defined audience? From a “marketing” perspective, this would allow me to optimize my content topics for optimal growth. But growth has never been my main focus (well, other than personal growth). I think I would rather have a broad audience, because I like the variety. I just happened to fall into the productivity category by accident, and I admit that I focused on this because it seemed like the right thing to do. I saw it as a vehicle for other projects.

    2. It’s good to know that some people enjoy just the ambiance of the writing, and the perspective from which I write from. I think my struggle is that “The Musings of David Seah” as a topical blog umbrella doesn’t tell anybody what to expect…you kind of have to discover that on your own as a reader. I used to feel bad that it was so unclear, but maybe it’s actually not a problem.

    3. The question is what makes me “look good”. I would rephrase this as being able to portray a very clear idea of “who I am” and “what I’m about”. The emphasis is on “I”, which is not an emphasis I particularly like. I also don’t want to be a cardboard caricature either.

    So now I’m thinking that what I’m doing now with the blog is fine; I already break out the productivity and design feeds separately. Refactoring my categories may be the way to go, though this will be a tedious job unless I touch the database directly (scary :-)

  10. Dave Seah 12 years ago

    bex: a straight analysis…thank you :-) Regarding that first statement about writer/audience, I guess there are two ways I’m considering: do I cater to an existing audience, or do I see who “shows up” based on what I’m writing? This is a separate issue from considering the audience’s background for the sake of communicating clearly. I also see that there is probably a bit of desire to just KNOW that I’m on the right track, someone to pat me on the head and assure me that I’m not screwing up. I’m seeking both approval and permission outside of myself, and I automatically know that this is not the way I want to make choices. I’ve been trying to shake that off for a good part of my life.

    I am also reminded as I read your comment that there is a second desire, which is to build a community or to be part of one. So while I want to be a writer, I also want to be in a community of people. And my approach to mapping out a community is to know what people are interested in, no matter how weird. This has all merged into one thing in my mind.

    So this is interesting: is the website better as a platform for community creation, or a content source? Both? Although I like the idea of having the two comingled, it doesn’t help people recognize the mission of the site right away. And THAT is the reason to be concerned about branding and organization…not for me, but so people can find what’s here of interest to them. Thanks for your comment again, Bex!

    Mark: I had just sketched out something very similar to that yesterday, based on layout gala n.35 with a duplicated “below the fold” content section for the headlines.

  11. bex 12 years ago

    Dave, I really appreciate the comments on my comment.  Thank you.

    Two things struck me in your reply:

    “[I want] to build a community or to be part of one.”
    -and-
    “[I]s the website better as a platform for community creation, or a content source?”

    My gut feeling is that this (and for that matter most) websites are about being a content source.  e-Communities (I hate the ‘e’ but I need to separate online from offline) require a different infrastructure and have a different success model.

    A content source is successful when content that is relevant can be found, accessed, and debated.  This debate can take two forms: academe and water cooler.  The academe occurs when individuals united by knowledge debate (think peer reviewed journals).  Many blogs have this kind of debate and it works really well (i.e. a macosxhints hint may have better material and expansion in it’s comments than in the original hint).  The watercooler is when a group of people united by external factors (friendship, social circles, circumstance, location) debate.  While this has value, it is more like a continuation of community.

    An e-Community is successful when individuals can find, interact with, and friend (in a non-linking manner) people they want to be with.  This group is as likely to discuss dinner as politics.  The infrastructure they need to survive is not found in traditional blogging/content providing websites.  Forums (or the web 2.0 equivalent) that allow for spontaneous interaction and topic development are required.  Blogs are content forced and controlled by their writer.

    For you to create/maintain a community you need to put in the infrastructure that supports that.  I have come to believe that this a bad idea.  Ignoring the software/feature management issues, the proliferation of apps/applets that synchronize profiles, crosspost automatically, or serve to aggregate multiple sites demonstrates a desire on the part of participants to maintain a single unified data set.  Creating a small niche goes against that.  (Note: The appropriateness of a single unified data set is debatable.)  Additionally, it is hard to build critical mass when adding new features (as a community concept would be for your blog readers).

    I believe that the best way to solve community is to leverage a market leader (i.e. facebook, et. al.) and layer your grouping on top.  It seems easier to create your own cozy nook in that larger space than to try and thrive in a space you have to build.  This is same methodology used today.  Friends create their own community space in a restaurant that feel as intimate as a gathering in their own homes, yet is often easier to arrange.

    The last step is to relate these two separate entities in a manner that is expressive and natural, not forced.  Many attempts to do community and content together feel like one of the pieces is a “bolt-on.”  Think of all of the forums that have sticky threads in an attempt to retain valuable content.  You have two goals that overlap only occasionally.  Recreate that in your sites/spaces.

    I reviewed facebook’s API and they aren’t ready for this concept yet.  I wonder if the general community platforms will ever be.

  12. rick 12 years ago

    bex said it well. If you want to create content fulltime then you need some what to make money from the content. If that content is mostly what you write on your blog you then have to ask a couple of questions:

    1) What value am I providing? To whom?

    2) How do I get paid for providing that value?

    If the value is in the posts themselves (vs in a product you sell e.g. the Printable CEO stuff) then you’re going to extract money from it either via advertising or via sponsorship. Both of those are audience driven.

    If the value is in a product you sell, then the content serves to build awareness of you, your practices and your product. You could, for example, charge for the Printable CEO stuff and sell it from the site as well as through other outlets both on and offline. In that case you simply need to keep doing what you’re doing and remain in circulation as a guy who thinks about productivity and life. All of this is the same if your blog is basically a lead generation mechanism for services instead of a product.

    What you can’t do, I think, is have this be a blog that’s substantially about personal anecdotes AND have the content be the value you’re selling. I don’t see many people sponsoring that and I’d imagine that ads would not work.

  13. Dave Seah 12 years ago

    Bex: What you’re describing sounds very reasonable, though there’s part of me that questions the validity of the “build up from the market leader” as the optimal way to achieve this. I know you’re not saying that, and all the pain in the butt part of building an integrated platform that you mention is a real consideration. It actually might be a good idea for me to scale back my thinking and, as Rick suggests is a viable approach, to keep doing what I’m doing.

    I think the other factor at work for me is that I don’t like bolting on to other communities. I would rather remain small and independent; being discoverable then becomes the salient approach.

    Rick: Nicely clarified…yes, the blog is a “lead generation” device.

    As far as money goes, I think it is “value in product I sell” that is ultimately where I want to go. The product, however, goes beyond the physical shipment of paper goods. I would like to avoid advertising as much as possible on the current site; Google adwords are what I allow, but they are pretty much hidden from direct readers because of the permalink structure I’m using. It pays for hosting.

    I’m realizing as we discuss this that I still have an aversion to making money off of content creation, and I don’t like the idea of using content to drive sales. Nevertheless, I do see this as the most viable way to move in the direction I want to.

    So what I’m thinking now is a content recategorization, and a split into a third major section for “stories” and its own RSS thread. And then, redesigning the website so these separations are much more obvious and distinct. I’ve avoided doing this for a while because of the difficulty in cleaning up the categories, but it needs to be done. Then following Mark’s pattern will go a long way toward improving usability on the site.

  14. Roberto 12 years ago

    Dave,

    I got thorugh your blog from a “productivity” search but i´ve been reading you for the mix your blog offers. As I read you from Google Reader, i just see the title and first paragraph. If its something i dont want to read, i just pass. I dont feel betrayed for you posting personal things, design thinkg or whatever, its good to read them sometimes and your perspective on those, and anyway if i dont want to read them, there is no need to unsuscribe, i just delete the post on Google Reader and move to the next. I dont even see them on categories, tags or nothing, I think that making it clear on the title if the post is for one or another category would be a much better solution.

    By the way, if your looking for a more community oriented site, i reccomend ning´s platform (check it out at http://www.ning.com), it offers all the backoffice management and seems reliable.

  15. Mark 12 years ago

    I’m undecided on this one.

    If I remember correctly (and I may not) it was one form or another that first brought me here, but it is your personal tone and openness about your desire to understand life that keeps me here.  I find your analyses fascinating, all the more so in the very personal context that all the other stuff you right about gives them.

    So I find the full breadth of postings to be an advantage, and see them all as naturally fitting together — insights on productivity and process made all the more valuable by being seen in relation to other parts of life.

    Now, all that said, if as you proceed towards your goals this site is becoming a bit more of a business tool — which only makes sense — as previous commenters have observed, that will put a slightly different complexion on it.  It may not be so simple.

    All of which means I guess that a clearer demarcation between types of post (however implemented, but preserving the strong core that this site is) is probably a good idea.

    How’s that for round the world for a short cut?!

  16. Dave Seah 12 years ago

    Roberto: That’s a good reminder about the first paragraph…I should pay a lot more attention to that. I have a tendency to get impatient and just post stuff, but I should at LEAST go back and rework the first paragraph so it does a better job of establishing the tone and subject of the article. Thanks for the shout-out on Ning…I’ve been impressed by how the service has evolved since I first looked at it. My buddy Alen is experimenting with it for the robot toy community

    Mark: I think you’re on the money with “clearer demarcation” of types of post. I had the realization just now that if there’s a core thread in my life, it is distilling experiences and re-presenting them. When I was younger and had nothing particularly interesting to say, I was primarily a consumer of media with the desire to experience things in an interesting way. I was shy, though, so I tended to get my experience indirectly through books and early text-based computer games. What the new insight is today is that I actually have a strong passion for writing all this stuff down…even on days I’m not posting, I’m writing long emails, noting my thoughts down to make sense of something confusing, and talking people through their own experiences. Duh. This is my passion. It can be split into multiple threads. The discipline I need to develop for “my” audience is to keep the demarcation clear. There are two stages of usefulness I can provide: readable-yet-detailed insight and process documentation, and my own personal perspective on what’s interesting about life.

    I think this may be the key insight for many things…you saw it here first! :-)

    [

  17. Tom 12 years ago

    I think the big reason your blog enjoys success is the fact that you do mix your thoughts with a clear description of the mental process you use for the work you do.  I can learn many things from a book on design, or whatever, but I can’t read about how to think like a designer.  You have an ability to put your thoughts down in a away that is interesting for others to read.  I, for example, am grossly boring when writing and rairly tell an interesting story. On the other hand, I am told, I am fun to talk to face to face.  Your thoughts are an manifestation of the organic nature of your mind and trying to filter them into content makes your site just like every other.  My RSS feed has four blogs, four! Yours is one I look forward to any time I see there is something to read.  You are the draw of the website, not your content.  Why is dooce enjoyable, not the content, it is Ms. Armstong.

  18. Dan Gtdagenda 12 years ago

    Well, your back-end analysis, what does it say?
    What are people reading more? The productivity articles or the personal articles?

  19. Dave Seah 12 years ago

    Tom: Thanks for that perspective…it’s difficult for me to remember that what I am doing is an “ability” or a “draw”, because I imagine that everyone else is doing the exact same thing: putting their thoughts into words. That is probably too superficial a similarity. I reckon another way I can think of this is that I’m much more likely to be friends with some people than others, and the blogging merely makes it easier for others to see what I’m thinking, which makes the friend/friendly reader transaction easier to make. I’m honored to be in your blogroll…thanks!

    Dan: I haven’t quite figured out how to tell, because RSS readership gives me an overall sense of how many people are reading, but not what articles are being read.

    If anyone is curious, according to Mint this site averages around 3000 pageviews a day and 1100 or so unique visitors. According to Google Analytics, About 30% of daily traffic is due to search engine traffic, another 30% is direct visits, and the rest are referrer links.

    The feedburner stats for the main blog (that is, everything) is currently hovering around 9200-9500 subscribers, though this does not reflect actual daily readership as far as I can tell, because RSS aggregators like Google Reader and Bloglines report their total subscribers. There is a cyclical element: Mondays are typically the busiest days, and Friday-Sunday are the quietest days. There are also two topical RSS feeds: productivity (with about 1000 subscribers) and design (with about 100 subscribers).

    It’s true that most of the search engine and direct hits are coming from productivity-related links. Partly this may be because a lot of my google sitemaps are broken, and the older content has become buried and “dead” to search engines because my indexing system is also not optimally guiding incoming links to the other fun stuff. Also, sites like Lifehacker are linked to several articles. However, the concept behind “the long tail” applies also to content on a website; while a few articles may grab a lot of the incoming attention, there are plenty of weirder articles that get their google play as well. I think it would be a mistake if I decided that since Productivity is attracting the lion’s share of incoming traffic, that must be it. What comes to mind is that although productivity links seem to grab the most attention traffic-wise, in terms of commenting they are about the same across the board. I certainly get different people commenting on, say, the music threads than the productivity threads. What is the same, though, is the enthusiasm to add to the conversation, and I think that factor is what I ultimately what to promote the most. The comment quality here is pretty darn high, and I only do light pruning of the “me too” comments that look like by-the-post link-farm SEO comments.

  20. Qrystal 12 years ago

    One of the key things that I don’t think has been mentioned yet (I only skimmed, I’ll admit) is that this site domain is your name—thus, readers should expect a lot of your point of view and experiences, and it seems many of us really like that part of the content.

    The other thing that has come up a few times is that there can be different feeds for different content… maybe it’s worth looking into what’s possible with giving subscribers the choice of what categories to subscribe to.

    One question you asked though really prompted me to say something:  “Is it more important to write for myself or write for the audience?”

    Definitely write for you, but if you can separate it out so that the audience can benefit from it in whatever way is most useful to them, that would totally rock. :P

  21. Penny 12 years ago

    I like the personal content, and things like the towel story.  OTOH, I started reading the blog because of your time tracker forms. 

    Have you considered using the stats as a guide to what to put up?  At the start of the week, have mainly productivity posts, and towards the end of the week the personal ones?

    Another thing to consider is that many people won’t read beyond the first or second page, and if they find personal content there they may not be back.  One option would be to have the first paragraph only of personal posts (with a read more link) but the whole of productivity ones.

  22. bex 12 years ago

    There are two primary reasons that I do not blog.  Both are things that I would advise that you avoid as you plan your future content.

    1 – Personal stories with no relevance.
    2 – Non-unique content.

    I believe you have so far, conquered both of these.  You haven’t shared non-relevant stories, thoughts, and musings.  Beyond friends, family, and creepies, I believe you have built an audience that doesn’t read for that.  Additionally, publishing this kind of content puts you in competition with the millions of blogs of the same thing.  We all have crappy day stories, stories about kittens, and a twitter account we could fill with information about what we are eating.  Don’t be that person.

    I also believe that you have succeeded in creating unique content.  I worry that unless what I have to say about something is unique, it is lost in a sea of copycat-content.  Everyone can comment on the Pope in NY.  Only a few can actually say something worth hearing, and rise above the noise of people yearning to feel like they are heard.

    So I encourage you to use relevancy as a guide.  Your personal experiences shape the things you write about.  However you should keep it topical to something, other than just publishing your journal for the world.  Like all good rules, break this one when it is appropriate.  If you get a new cat, feel free to mention it in passing.  Just don’t report on each litter box usage.

    This may be repetitious with previous comments, and if so, I apologize.  I just felt like things were beginning to be interpreted in a very black/white manner.

    —-

    On the community front I ask you to describe how that community should exist?  Is it topic driven like a blog?  Is it spur of the moment like twitter, or is it more like an irc/chat that is topical yet spontaneous?  I think the answer to that will guide you as to how to build it.

    I also think you need to consider who is a part of that community.  Are you looking for friends in that community? readers? colleagues?  While they overlap, I also think that it will be clear how to attract the appropriate group.  For example, if you want friends, you may not want someone who is a read-only consumer of your writing as they don’t add to the community.  OTOH colleagues may never share their favorite TV shows with you unless they saw something particularly relevant on them.

  23. Roy 12 years ago

    Like many of the others, I initially came here because of the productivity tools, but I check here on a more or less daily basis so I can see what your latest mental wranglings have been. I’d echo Tom’s remarks in that it’s nice to be able to hear someone “think out loud” how they arrive at key decisions.

  24. Brian Howell 12 years ago

    David: “the reason people are here is because they just like reading about what’s on my mind”

    I agree with Roy’s point of view (and many others’ I suspect). I came here initially due to the productivity content, but I find many of the things you write about to be topics that I can relate to.

    For instance the past couple of posts about your music I found fascinating. Your analysis and synthesis of music is pure “David Seah” and that’s the reason I keep coming back. I like to read through your mental process on just about any topic.