In a recent conversation with Donna Kowal, the program coordinator for the Pace Academy and the organizing force behind the creation of EarthDesk, I laid out some practical tips for blogging a better planet (that’s the title of my fall course at Pace). Here’s the introduction and a link to the full discussion:
For me blogging is not just about page views or unique visitors, but about inquiry, dialogue and meaning. My blogging is a portrait of me learning, not me telling others what to think or feel.
If I had to choose the top three traits and goals for aspiring bloggers, they’d be:
Blog about subjects you can’t stay away from, that excite or energize you, and then the blogging process won’t seem like work. It will simply be a part of how you live and communicate.
The best blogs are not merely output, but are part of a broader conversation with a community that you help create. That means that a big part of blogging is not blogging – but building community by reading, commenting and linking (especially linking) to others exploring similar issues or ideas, including people who might disagree with you. This will implicitly involve Twitter, Facebook and email lists. (With almost every Dot Earth post, I send an e-mail to contacts, experts and other bloggers who I think would be interested.)
Don’t be afraid to blog slowly sometimes. There are plenty of aggregators snatching nuggets from the flood, but meaning and consequences tend to build more through reflection – or at least a rhythm that involves “reviewing the bidding,” as one of my former New York Times editors liked to say after a busy day of reporting some breaking-news story.
Click here for my list of tips on comments, frequency of posting, building a network and more.And listen here as I chat with 10th graders at a high school in Kobe, Japan, about my 30-year journey from conventional journalism in magazines, books and newspaper stories to a focus on online approaches to sharing information and shaping ideas.