Friday, December 15, 2006

You Should Be Blogging (Part 1)

The '06 Elections demonstrated one clear thing. Blogs work. They are powerful, far-reaching, and their potential is endless.

Laura recently posted about the need for new folks to step forward and start blogs in their district. She's right. There's an ever clear and present need that exists.

As someone who barely read blogs over a year ago, much less was a visitor here on MichLib, I never would have imagined starting two of them. I lurked here, day after day, reading what everyone else had to say and watching the successes of the blogosphere grow. It was exciting. Starting my own individual blog was a huge undertaking, and is a big time commitment, even to this day. I love it, but I know it's not for everyone.

When I joined forces with 7 other people all across the 8th Congressional District (CD) to kick off Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, it was fun, it was relatively easy and we got noticed by our target audience right away.

So why should you start a community blog?
  • Smaller time commitment per individual contributor. You can go a couple days without posting because you can rely on your other contributors to chime in.
  • Different strengths represented by different contributors (i.e. photoshop skills, research ability, social connections within the district, html knowledge)
  • More thorough coverage of your district. Face it - you can't be everywhere, know everyone.
  • Varied interests of contributors (Health care, Military, Environment, Education, etc) You literally have a shop with invested, passionate policy specialists.
  • Pure Motivations. We blog because we care. We don't make money, we typically write under pseudonyms so there's no professional motivation, and our fuel is the most renewable out there - passion!
Got 20 Reasons Why You Can't be a Part of a Blog? So did I. Let me dispel some of the myths...
  • You need to know HTML Code. False. With blogging software/programs like Blogger and Wordpress, they do all the code work for you. You literally have to write and hit 'Publish'.
  • Blogging's a full-time job. Definitely false. Blogging's like any activity. You can put as little or as much time into as you want. True, you want to keep your blog fresh. If you have at least one other contributor, you share the load.
  • They cost money. Also false. If you have access to a computer and the internet, then you can blog for free. Both Blogger and Wordpress are free. If you want to get your own domain/url like Pohlitics, Capital Viewpoint, or ChristineBarry, then you're talking under $50 a year in costs.
  • You have to have journalism skills. Not true. Blogs are a means of transmitting information. Put the facts up there and let them speak. If you're a little more eloquent than some, consider it a bonus.
  • Blogging's a new-fangled thing for the youngsters. Complete and utter baloney. If you made it to MichLib to read this, then you're not too old. :-)
  • Blogging cuts you off from the real world. Couldn't be more false. If anything, I've met more people and more friends (yes, in person!) through blogging than I have in most other hobbies of mine. We're a dedicated, loyal bunch. We take care of our own and are always there to help each other out. We are so much more than just an "online community". We're a community of friends united by a common thread spread across the state. To really dispel the myth - we've actually met each other, and have been known to gather in groups to enjoy excellent food and drink (we're all talented outside of blogging, of course!)
Of course, members of our community have all posted some extremely helpful tools and guidelines for liberal bloggers, no matter the skill level. Check out these additional helpful tools -
Got your interest piqued? Excellent. Then you'll definitely want to wait for You Should be Blogging (Part 2) coming soon...

My apologies to the BeeGees for the title. :-)

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