Jens Oliver Meiert

Interview: Me on Blogs and Blogging

Post from July 17, 2007 (↻ October 4, 2017), filed under .

Below is an interview with me to be published in Bruce C. Brown’s forthcoming book, The Secret Power of Blogging: How to Promote and Market Your Business, Organization, or Cause With Free Blogs. I look forward to the release as the book will contain a lot of insight into blogging. Thanks to Bruce for the permission to pre-publish this interview.

Bruce C. Brown:

Can you describe your introduction to blogging, how you became interested and how it impacted you personally?

Jens O. Meiert:

Well, there are two stories. In 2003 I started to regularly publish my German web development and usability articles and translations on my website, and some people consider that German site a blog even though it doesn’t even allow comments. (I don’t think that comment functionality is necessary for a blog, but it appears to be characteristic.) In 2005 I thought about establishing an English blog which finally went live in January, 2007. This “real” blog was driven by the wish to serve a more global audience as well as just talk about things that bother or please me and other professionals.

Personally, I enjoy blogs because of the “close proximity” between authors and readers—blogs bring people together. Feeds and comments make it easy to get and stay informed and involved, and I appreciate that both from an author and reader point of view. The impact blogging has on me is best described by two aspects: more responsibility and higher involvement.

Brown:

From a business perspective, how do you think blogging can positively impact communications, sales and corporate image?

Meiert:

To be honest, I still consider “corporate blogging” a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s a great thing in order to build more trust and credibility, which will result in more sales and better reputation. On the other hand, this only works when those corporate bloggers can really be sincere, and when there is no “corporate censorship” involved. (At least, they need to convey that impression, all the time.)

The problem is that this is just not possible in every company, I very much doubt that. Especially larger companies will know a higher probability of either letting people blog who are not quite happy about certain things—at first, this is probably perceived positively since credible, but from a certain point on it will backfire—, choosing only certain people—that’s also censorship, isn’t it—, or establishing any kind of blog “supervision.”

From a corporate perspective, you just need to make sure that nobody can question your truthfulness. As an outsider, you can only hope for that honesty, or probably become at least a little bit paranoid.

Brown:

What is the best advice you can give an individual or business who is considering starting a blog?

Meiert:

Be sincere, and focus on accuracy, focus on quality.

Brown:

What industry sites and blogs do you read regularly?

Meiert:

That’s quite a bunch. I’ll pick a random five:

Brown:

What are your favorite blog development tools or applications?

Meiert:

I definitely appreciate and recommend WordPress. Other blog systems, and I evaluated quite a few before setting up English meiert.com, are almost always less usable, less maintainable, or output worse code. However, I won’t recommend any development tools, plug-ins (except for Akismet, which does a great job in filtering spam), and stuff, since this is just too individual. The needs are too different.

Brown:

Can you name 5 tips for successful blogging?

Meiert:
  • Write accurate content,
  • write regularly,
  • be social,
  • be honest, and
  • be passionate.
Brown:

Can you name 5 common mistakes in blogging?

Meiert:

Provocatively, there’s only one mistake:

  • Not learning from mistakes.
Brown:

What is the best way to get a new weblog promoted?

Meiert:

Unless it’s “just for fun,” you’re better off setting goals for your blog first, whatever they are. It makes it easier to strike.

Configure your blog to ping Technorati, Google Blog Search, and pals. Create a few posts that are well-researched, comprehensive, or provocative, but in a way that’s roughly similar to the style you adhere to in the near future. Tell your friends and colleagues, some of them might want to link to your blog. Make use of trustworthy and relevant blog and feed directories. Use opportunities to get links to your blog, for example, in public profiles of LinkedIn and stuff. Learn, and optimize. (That never ends, unfortunately. Or fortunately.)

Brown:

What is the relationship between your web site and your blogs? How are they interconnected? How does the blog expand upon your website?

Meiert:

Well, on the one hand, my blog is relatively closely linked to its German sister due to the same “corporate identity,” some “shared content” that is just available in two languages, and some architecture commonalities. On the other hand, it’s quite different: It targets a different—the English—information space with often different material. It is based on dynamic pages, whereas the rest of the site is still static.

However, this “hybrid concept” seems to work pretty well for me, even though English readers can barely benefit from the German part of my site. (It’s actually even more targeted, covering all my professional publications, from books to articles to translations.)

Brown:

What do you think is the future of Blogging?

Meiert:

Blog software will anticipate posts and hammer them out to all social networking platforms available.

Seriously: For the near future, I expect greater simplification and more automation. (Quite abstract, sure.) I also expect more “information space pollution” meaning relatively less posts containing new and valuable information, and much more spam, meaning more than 20 spam comments for 1 real comment. I don’t expect anything revolutionary, though: This would require new names or buzzwords, respectively, and will not be called “blogging.”

About the Author

Jens Oliver Meiert, photo of July 27, 2015.

Jens Oliver Meiert is an author, developer (O’Reilly, W3C, ex-Google), and philosopher. He experiments with art and adventure. Here on meiert.com he shares and generalizes and exaggerates some of his thoughts and experiences.

There’s more Jens in the archives and at Goodreads. If you have any questions or concerns (or recommendations) about what he writes, leave a comment or a message.

Comments (Closed)

  1. On July 17, 2007, 23:35 CEST, Bruce Brown said:

    Jens,

    Thank you again for the great interview. I look forward to sending you the printed copy of the book. For your readers, it can be pre-ordered from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/1601380097/

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