Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What's A Blog?

Here's the complete list of those who participated in the metaphor project ~ which ones make the most sense to you?
See the 10 winners here.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

The Metaphor Project

Mike at Spooky Action has put some thought into what his blog is and he's decided it is Dexter's Memetic Lab because he experiments with memes. Don't let the word 'meme' fool you. Memes are conversations and ideas which travel about the Net (blog carnivals included). So his experiments are not as silly as you might think.

While Mike's thoughts (and actions) are interesting, what really make me want to bring this to your attention was how Mike got around to describing or defining his blog.

It began with a post at Liz's Successful Blog, titled The Metaphor Project: What's Your Blogging Metaphor?. In that post, Liz challenged bloggers to a write a post to explain what blogging is ~ using a metaphor as a teaching tool.

The replies were interesting (here's a second set of them) and I encourage you to read them all as well as think about a metaphor of your own. But what really struck me was that in all the metaphors the focus was on what the blogger was doing at their blog. Not surprisingly, because that was the question, right? But something was missing.

If I stick with the metaphor that blogs in general are conversations, or if I use Mike's metaphor that his blog is Dexter's Memetic Lab, or any metaphor likely (or unlikely) used, these all beg the question, "So what?"

So what if I have a great idea, a wonderful experiment, or if the blog is throwing rocks at thousands of windows and trying to wake the sleeping beauty inside? None of it matters if there isn't another to converse, an audience, or if a rock doesn't hit the window.

While blogging, especially those blogs which automatically ping Technorati or are built into communities, have some ability to be found, what you say/do there is rather meaningless if no one is there to read/participate. Like the old tree which falls in the forest, you have to ask yourself, "Do I make a sound if there's no one there to hear it?"

This is why marketing matters. Your blog has to be found (SEO, link swaps, an email with the URL to your mother, whatever) in order for what you do there to matter. Your odds of participation, of being meaningful or at least mattering to someone, increase when you are where the people are.

Which brings us back to Mike and his experiments with memes.

Many memes may be silly. And certainly not all memes are fitting for every blog. But if you view memes as active conversations then participating (in the right ones) is one way to make sure that not only are you heard in the forest, but that someone actually yells, "Timber!"

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