Salsa Scoop> tag: ”blog:blogging“

Blogging as signposting

I was talking with a friend the other day thinking of starting a blog of her own, and it got me trying to parse through the deliverable benefits you get from this sort of enterprise.

Community, active learning ... those things are great, and very real. But the one most quantifiable to a bottom-line-oriented boss is likely to be search.

Every post on a blog is a signpost that says, "here's a resource about X" -- for months or years afterwards when people punch the keywords into Google. It's an incredibly powerful, cheap and genuine search strategy and for any charity whose issue isn't solely indicated by incredibly crowded search environments like "Britney Spears panties". Every day, we see a steady trickle of traffic on topics we've covered here, both on-topic to our raison d'etre and off.

I got a weird but welcome example of that this week on my other blog. All of a sudden one day, I had huge traffic (by my paltry standards) coming to a single post -- but there was no identifiable link out there. It was all search. Out of nowhere, months after the publication, that post had its highest-traffic day ... and then, it dropped back into obscurity:

What the heck?

Turns out, it's a post about Strom Thurmond's romantic adventures with a condemned inmate ... and on June 19th, the day of the hit parade, Paul Begala referenced this affair on a front-page Huffington Post story whose (currently) 94 comments testify to the HuffPo's traffic footprint.

There's no link to little old me in the Begala story, more's the pity; but, just about anyone who searched it had a page of mine on the first page of results, and what with the salacious appeal of the lecherous old goat hooking up with a murderess on her way to the death house, it was searched a lot.

Not that I'm over there doing this specifically, but especially for an organization mulling a blog, or an existing blogger mulling what to post, one could do a lot worse than starting here:

I want this site to be found by everyone who goes online looking for _______

... and building posts around the various possible words and concepts that fill in that blank.

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Blogging and the Feminized Public Sphere

The "writing from your parents' basement" charge against a blogger (a charge usually hurled by other bloggers, of course) is one of the more pure expressions of 18th century liberal ideology openly used in contemporary discourse: to be in legitimate public discourse, you must rule your own household; economic dependency conflates with weakness and ignorance. This already consigns the target to the space of childhood, so perhaps it's no surprise that such an emasculating arrangement comes with a specific parent.

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This Blog Is a Phish for the No-Fly List

The TSA -- the very face of obnoxious, ineffective, ham-handed government to anyone with the misfortune of commercial air travel "in the wake of September 11" -- has launched a blog. This'll be interesting. Smarter folk than I find this promising, but it's hard to see where this is going, especially since the bloggers profess surprise at the torrential commentary. What are the distinguishing characteristics of this institution that makes it a good fit for this communications medium?
StructureNetworked, sharingTop-down, secretive
User's AlternativesGoof off elsewhereHitchhike
Characteristic discourseQuestioning, conversationalPettily dictatorial
Liquids allowed?Downright encouragedWar on States of Matter continuing unabated
Punitive Measures AvailableTroll-ratingExtraordinary rendition

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A Month of Not Thinking About Nonprofit Tech

High among the many compelling reasons to work for DIA, one must rank the management's willingness to let one take four weeks' vacation on the trot. Nevertheless, one does this sort of thing at one's peril, and the witticisms that have enlivened this space in my absence seem proof enough that the blog goes on. But faint heart never won fair Hefeweizen, and I have to admit that somewhere between Maidan (in a lull of the crisis du jour and under the docile occupation of a half-dozen parties' professional protester-campers) and the Hofbrauhaus, work, DIA, nonprofit tech, all disappeared gloriously into the memory hole. Feeds and newsletters and all that stuff in total stillness, with just the cool cascade of strange sights, new people, and miles of cobblestones to walk. It's not that I don't love everyone, it's just ... I don't know how to finish that sentence. Besides, travel is a form of metaphysical -- and ever-so-physical -- blogging (bear with me here, I'm trying to get a writeoff for attending Carnival).

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