Why Robert and Maryam Scoble Gave Me a T-Shirt, ConvergeSouth Notes, Part 2

, or, Robert and Maryam Scoble on “Ten Ways to a Killer Blog”

They began by pointing out that, as far as they can recall, this is the first time that they have given a talk on blogging together.

They set out with a simple goal, but the discussion oriented nature of the conference led to many interesting tangents. Below are my notes and thoughts on the talk.

  1. Write from the heart – I missed the actual quote, but the idea is one we have all heard before. Write what you are passionate about.
  2. “Read other blogs”Robert points out that if you read blogs and don’t feel the impulse to write your own, then you probably shouldn’t be blogging. I can relate to this. Even though I read blogs on and off for a while before I began my own, there was always a little part of me that felt left out of the conversation.
  3. “Pick a niche you can own (be different)” Maryam pointed out that Robert always says that there are two types of bloggers. One type has a desire to change things and is writing for an audience. Robert fits into that category. The second kind are those bloggers, like Maryam, who blog just for the sake of it. Either way, it is important to hit a unique market. Robert discusses the importance of branding your niche so that people begin to relate you and you niche.I have tried to do this with Academic Library 2.0. While I cover many related topics, I always come back to this one. As Robert was discussing this, I began to think of how social networking services increasingly need to focus on niche markets.
  4. “Link to other blogs” (and comment). – When Maryam began her blog, she told Robert not to link to her because she wanted to earn her incoming links. Even so, Dave Winer linked to her blog on its first day and brought 3,000 unique visitors to her site. Don’t underestimate the power of linking. Also, don’t underestimate the power of link love. Robert points out that the internet rewards. They also stressed the importance of linking to material covering both sides of an issue because you automatically gain a level of authority above someone linking only to one side.
  5. “Admit mistakes” – Maryam said that Robert has earned her respect on this one. Robert also mentioned the importance of keeping private data sacrosanct.
  6. “Write good headlines” – Robert says that he moves items straight from his aggregator to his link-blog based on the headline alone. Similarly, he deletes most other posts coming through his aggregator because they have uninteresting or uninformative titles. Interesting to note, Robert said that he mostly subscribes to feeds for searches rather than individual blogs. I too have found ,myself doing this more and more. The eye tracking study that shows people look for keywords in headlines was mentioned. They point out that people love lists and are more likely to read posts with a list title. Jokingly they say that this is why they used a list for their presentation! Maryam points out that her most popular post is titled, “In Defense of Geeks or Ten Reasons Why You Should Date a Geek.
  7. Use other media – Robert is convinced TechCrunch was discovered because Michael added a graphic to every post.The internet is a gift economy. I contributed my story about how I wanted to share my concept models. Instead of putting them on my blog, I put them on Flickr because I new there was a much better chance of someone discovering them. In fact, I had a pretty good idea that the more well known Library 2.0 bloggers would see it there. Michael Stephens did find it on Flickr and linked to the Flickr image. I lost some traffic to my blog, but I got my ideas out there, which was most important. My basic point was that social networking services can be a powerful way to share your work. Given that more people are subscribing to searches for tags, this is even more important. Ed Cone backed me up and said it was a really “powerful point.” Then Maryam threw a t-shirt at me because of the importance of my contribution. This was especially cool because many others had contributed, but I was the first to earn a t-shirt! Robert moved from this point straight to Second Life. As he was listing all of the things that you can put in Second Life, I, given the confidence from the t-shirt, yelled out “libraries”. He spoke a lot about what was covered in an article in The Economist a few weeks ago.
  8. “Have a voice” – I think the saying they used was, “If you want to dig a goldmine, you need to use some dynamite.” Sometimes you have to take a stand for good. They discussed how Robert stood up against Steve Balmer surrounding Microsoft’s support, or lack there of, for a gay rights bill. He mentioned that he asked Maryam if it was okay to take the risk of getting fired. After she read over his post, she said it was okay. I really liked this story. It points out the importance of standing up for what you believe in, yet it also points out that sometimes you need to think of the consequences beyond what might happen to you.
  9. “Get outside the blogosphere” – Go to events. Meet people. They then ran out of time and threw up their last few slides. They actually ended up having 15 suggestions.
  10. “Market yourself”
  11. “Write Well” – Spell check, check your state of mind.
  12. “Expose Yourself”
  13. “Help other people blog” – Don’t play hierarchy games.
  14. “Engage with commenters”
  15. “Keep your integrity”– Robert said it is important that “You are what you seem you are.”

I asked the last question of the session. I asked Robert if he had any advice on how one might pitch the idea of having a public blogger. The scenario I gave him was making the pitch at a job interview with a large company. He pointed out the importance of sharing original unscripted content. He also said it is important to point out (to the company) that they can’t control the world.

Given the tardiness of my coverage, a few people already have some excellent posts up about this talk. So if you want to learn read more about the Scobles’s talk, check out mistersugar’s take on BlogTogether or Daniel’s take on Xark.

Technorati tags: robertscoble maryamscoble bloggingtips convergesouth convergesouth2006

3 thoughts on “Why Robert and Maryam Scoble Gave Me a T-Shirt, ConvergeSouth Notes, Part 2”

  1. Hey,

    I was doing research on business blogging in order to talk about the potential of blogging to my project crew, and first ended up to pages of conference which you had attended. From there I downloaded the slides, and found them interesting. I did a new search to find out more about Robert and Maryan Scoble and found your page. Thanks a lot for sharing your insights about the lecture. They helped me.

    Greetings from Finland.


  2. Hi Ville,

    I am glad you found the post helpful. It always enjoy making international connections through the blog.

    Good luck setting up a blog for your project crew. Blogs can be excellent collaboration tools. Also, have you looked at using wikis at all?


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