Back in the day we didn't call them followers but in today's social speak my first follower was a nurse from a psych ward. She was outrageous, outspoken and as completely moved by my first blog, (Omer of Manna), as I was stunned by hers. She was also a brilliant and bold writer. Back then, blogging was edgy, quirky. Some said (then as in now), narcissism grew legs and began walking first in the blogosphere.
But before Twitter. Before Facebook. Before MySpace, Meebo, Gowalla, Foursquare and Second Life, there were blogs: the original social network.
My first blog, created in 2003, was a helpful tool for not only updating friends and family during our son’s battle with cancer, but also as a therapeutic way for me to disentangle the all-consuming thoughts and emotions during that time. Back then, you had to use rudimentary html and Blogger was still in its (newly-acquired-by-Google) infancy. I remember spending many wee morning hours or late night hours (they generally melded into blurs) studying html from tutorial sites just to get the bold or italics effect on the right word or to create a hyperlink (now it is a mere click of the button).
In May ‘06 I built this blog, Branded Matters and I have enjoyed it, thoroughly. Branded Matters led to surprising new opportunities but more important, it helped clarify my thoughts about our business, shape our core objectives and sharpen my communication skills toward a new audience. I agree with an audacious statement Tom Peters made in this video on Open Forum, “no single thing in the last fifteen years, professionally, has been more important to my life than blogging”.
There are a myriad of reasons why I love blogging, I enjoy elucidating my thoughts, crafting words into cohesive ideas and even the arduous task of editing my work. "Easy reading is hard writing" and writing well (or attempting to write well) helps me reflect carefully, discovering along the way precisely what I think about particular issues as I wrestle with them within the confines of the printed word. As microblogging (Twitter and portions of facebook) have become much more popular, some have predicted the death of blogging which is preposterous: the digital landscape is the penultimate canvas for sharing ideas (whether in words or images) and is one of our last great hopes for rigorous debate about some of the most critical issues facing a business, a nation, or an individual (and you cannot have rigorous debate in 140 characters).
Today, this blog was nominated for an Okie Blog Award in the business-related blog category (If you feel so inclined to vote for me, I would appreciate it). Reviewing all the wonderful blogs that are nominated reminded me of the most important reason I've enjoyed blogging, which is, quite simply, the social network. When people talk of online networking as if it is some solitary, disingenuous practice, I suppress a grin: if they only knew all the wonderful people I've met and the incredible ideas I've discovered because of this type of networking.
As a way to commemorate my nomination for best business-related blog, it only seemed fitting to introduce you to some of my favorite blogs. I hope they enrich your life as they have mine. This list begins with local blogs first and then to international blogs and lastly, to gurus. This is an important distinction as I believe the more global we become, the more important local becomes. I read a few hundred blogs through my RSS reader but these are some of the blogs I turn to first, I rarely miss a post:
- Blogging4Jobs (also nominated in the best business-related blog category)
- Personal PR (Tiffany Monhollon)
- Schnake Turnbo Frank PR (Mike Koehler)
- Stop Doing Nothing (Patrick Allmond)
- James Dalman (also nominated in the best business-related blog category)
- Cory Miller
- ramblings of a creative mind unleashed
- United Linen Blog (Scott Townsend)
- Brandgirl Blog (Malena Lott)
- Wonderbeard (Blake Jackson)
- jenx67: Are You There God? It's Me, Generation X
- The Art of Manliness
- The Marketing Fresh Peel (Chris Wilson)
- RightSleeve (Mark Graham)
- Najila's Notes
- Annarchy (Ann Handley)
- Six Pixels of Separation (Mitch Joel)
- Mind Dump (Scott McLeod)
- Sprout (Sarah Prout)
- Scripting News (Dave Winer)
- A VC (Fred Wilson)
- Michael Hyatt
- Steve Rubel
- Web Ink Now (David Meerman Scott)
- Being Peter Kim
- Giovanni Gallucci
- Debbie Weil
- Logic + Emotion (David Armano)
- Selling to Big Companies (Jill Konrath)
- 43 Folders (Merlin Mann)
- copyblogger (Brian Clark)
- MarCom Writer Blog (Dianna Huff)
- Duct Tape Marketing (John Jantsch)
- tudor girba
- The Art of Manliness
Most readers know I recently started a new blog to help me in my reading goal (the new blog is entitled "Reading the Greats"). Crazy busy trying to keep up with two blogs but I enjoy it. Call me the betamax blogger but I think I'll keep blogging until the method is so outmoded that the last blogging platform on earth will have to kill its servers to get rid of me. If you haven't tried your hand at blogging, I encourage you to do so. A great place to start would be to spend some time on these blogs I've listed as well as the list from the Okie Blog Awards (I plan to visit all of the nominated sites this weekend). If you get in the blogging game OR if you know of a blog I should be reading, be sure and let me know.