Finding your niche as a blogger

What is a blogger? This is a question that has amazed the online community for the last decade or so, since logging became a widely practiced influential way to communicate with the masses. Bloggers have been described as journalists, dilettantes, rabble-rouses, hacks, mavens, critics, opinion leaders, inciters of riots, etc. Probably there is some truth in all of this. However, what sets apart influential and successful bloggers from the rest is dedication and the ability to be filters and curators. The best bloggers are able to go online and sort out through mounting volume of information and identify content that has meaning and fascination for their readers. They don’t only present the news, they interpret it in a meaningful way.

  • Meaning: This is the informational aspect of your content that your regular readers, listeners, or viewers look to you for. This is also a topic that matters to the prospective audience you’re trying to reach though social media sharing
  • Fascination: The fascinating element of your content is where your creativity shines. It’s the fun, shocking, or entertaining aspect of your content that makes people pay attention and share with their friends and colleagues.

White & Biggs define blogging as “journalism written on a short deadline!” The blogger is a one man brand – a lone news organization!

The authors suggests that before you srtart blogging, you need to thoroughly consider the following four questions:

  1. Who you are?
  2. What do you know about?
  3. What are you passionate about?
  4. What are you going to write about?

The blogosphere is in continuous flux as is the impact of new technologies on mass communication. The new trend suggests that blogging is becoming a more professionalized. According to a report by Technorati, in 2011 bloggers were more active updating their blogs and spending more time blogging. Also, this report found a shift in the type of information that people were blogging about, from conversations with friends to blogging with some purpose. Current bloggers fall in the following categories:

  • “Hobbyist” – about 60% of bloggers claim to blog “for fun”
  • Professionals – 18% claim to be independent bloggers who consider blogging as a supplementary job.
  • Corporate: 8% of the blogosphere blogs as part of their full-time job or blog full-time for a company or organization they work for.
  • Entrepreneurs: 13% of the blogosphere is characterized as entrepreneurs, or individuals blogging for a company or organization they own.

The motivations for spending time blogging vary, depending on which category they fall. Most of the bloggers (70%) use their blog to share their expertise and experience with others. While professionals tend to use their blog as a way to make money or supplement their income, corporate and entrepreneur bloggers are looking to gain professional recognition and attract new clients to their business.

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It is hard to quantify the impact of blogger on society. However, some indicators give credit to bloggers for important societal impacts.Analysis credit the technology that allows for blogging with making our society more interconnected and self-aware. As Fredman says, blogs help sustain niche communities that have common interests and connect people with news they might not have heard about otherwise.

Blogs have the potential to greatly affect society and the way we communicate, get informed and participate in the democratic process by:
  • Altering the form in which citizens learn and discuss important issues

According to Pew research, 32% of all adults who use Internet, read blogs, while 26% of them post comments on blogs.

  • Creating noise over issues marginalized by the mainstream media —extending the work of journalism

According to the self-reported data on the Technorati report, 36% of all bloggers claim to have been quoted in the traditional media for something they posted on a blog.

Drezner and Farrell (2008) provide a number of anecdotes about how blog posts have helped bring down powerful politicians or had other policy effects. They conclude that “There is good reason to believe that blogs are changing politics, but we don’t know exactly how. Nor do we know whether the normative consequences of blogs for poli- tics are likely to be good or bad.”

  • Monitoring news developments operating as media watchdogs

Blog-led casualties in the mainstream media include: Conservative Web bloggers helped force the resignation of top CNN news executive Eason Jordan over remarks he made at the World Economic Conference in Davos. Dan Rather, whose faulty reporting on documents purportedly dealing with the president’s National Guard service led to his impending departure from the CBS anchor chair.

There is also strong evidence that blogging helps improve the reputation of professionals. Davis et al. (2011) conducted a survey of academic economists in the U.S. found that regular blogging is strongly and significantly associated with being more likely to be viewed as a favorite economist.

So, this is your chance to join the band wagon and take advantage of this new technology to improve your future career!!

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