December 29, 2007

A Big Part of Blogging is Writing to Your Readers

In November, when I sat down with Emanuel Rosen to offer some comments for the next edition of his book, "The Anatomy of Buzz", we talked a lot about blogging, what the new spheres of influence were on the Web, and what can keep a writer going, even when there's no money and no fame involved. One of the comments I made I believe caught him by surprise, when I said that over time, the very best blogs adapt and write to the readers, rather than the author.

While it's ideal to think the author's likes and dislikes will be so magnetic as to attract a wide readership, it's best to test storylines and topics. Over time, focus on those things which will best engage readers, community and conversation.

On some level, there's no question that's happened here. While I remain opinionated on politics, I don't talk about it here. And while I watch plenty of sports, I'm taking that commentary to Ballhype and Sports Blogs Nation instead of to Over time, I've optimized the discussion on to discuss how I use and interact with technology, what new services I find interesting, and developments I think will impact people on the Web and in the real world. Living in Silicon Valley and participating in the Silicon Valley life gives me some edge at this level for technology, while it doesn't give me a leg up for politics and sports, in comparison.

So when I talked with Emanuel Rosen, that's what I told him. Over time, I learned that you, my readers, are RSS-savvy. Most of you read TechMeme, and are familiar with the A-list bloggers. Most of you hold strong opinions over what the best search engines, operating systems and social networks are, and believe strongly in innovation, openness and entertainment. Most of you have a dry sense of humor and don't mind the occasional off-topic post, so long as you know the next few will be on something you're interested in, whether it's RSS, Google or the Apple TV, the future of Web advertising, FriendFeed and Spokeo, iTunes or the iPod.

Through 2006, I was finding my footing. I posted on what I felt like, in no particular order or frequency. While I believe some of those posts were pretty good, I didn't stand for much, and as a result, I didn't get all that many readers. In 2007, I think I listened a little more and participated a little more. And I hope that as I've adapted my focus to what I believe yours is, I won't have lost the core elements of what makes this blog personal.

Also see:
Why Do I Blog? An Introspective Look
I Still Get Excited About Silicon Valley
Are You An ACTIVE Hub?


  1. now if we can just get you off of I'll be a happy camper :)

  2. You would prefer I use Wordpress, I assume? What's the dislike re: Blogger?

  3. Thanks for thinking of me as an a-list blogger!

    -- allen from CN

  4. Louis, I know I'm just one guy, but I like your sports posts, your commentary on current events, your life, as well as other non tech-related stuff. I hope you don't abandon this completely.

  5. Personally I like the mix of tech and other stuff (I guess that's because it's what I do). I really like reading some of the side stuff you write regarding Mormons or missing out on the World Series. But I'll continue reading your blog as long as you continue to post :)

  6. @louis,

    from a reader's POV the whole comment system sucks. I have now way to follow up on comments. Normally I can grab a comment feed from a post within FeedDemon (which I do for every comment I make on a blog) or at least subscribe to comments via a notification email.

    It also never remembers my info or even allows for auto complete of fields.

    I guess those are my primary complaints

  7. @steven

    Blogger should have the option to Email follow-up comments to your address, of course, assuming you're signed in. I moved to Blogger at the beginning of 2007, so I could get off RapidWeaver, which just wasn't scaling.

    I've seen the Disqus platform, and have been watching. So far, Blogger has worked well for most of my needs.

  8. @Jeff and Webomatica

    Thanks for the comments on being diversified. There's no doubt I'll keep some sports and personal data here. But I don't want to turn away the more geeky readers with pictures of my dog, A's game recaps, etc., so I'll have to walk a fine line.


    You're welcome. I find CenterNetworks a very good read.

  9. I for one discovered your blog this year and have definitely enjoyed it.
    The sports stuff wasn't for me, but I can skip over it.
    I think a blog should reflect the writer's personality, and if that means you want to write about sports and religion, as well as the web, that's just fine with me.

    Happy New Year!