Well, I’ve been blogging now for several months. It’s been a blast and quite a bit of work (and very difficult to accomplish while balancing the responsibilities of a new baby and a fledgling enterprise). But the process has also been enormously rewarding. In the past few months I’ve gained a deeper understanding of this market and amassed some great relationships. Neither of these two benefits would have been achieved to the same degree without blogging.
The process has also taught me first hand about the power of niche content. I’m afraid to admit it, but I tend to read books like the DaVinci Code, listen to 105.3, and watch movies like Spiderman 2. I’ve always understood that there was an enormous market in niche media, but I always felt that it was for people other than me. Well, three months later I realize that it is less about the quality of niche sources (although it has great exceeded my expectations) and more about the process of finding them. I essentially didn’t read/listen to/watch this stuff because I simply was too lazy to go through the process of finding it. Sure, I would stumble upon a few small Web sites, but for the most part I was the guy that was sticking to the 15 bookmarks.
Today I review 100 odd feeds using Bloglines (including a dozen or so tag-based feeds through Del.icio.us.) I have become a full fledged consumer of niche media. The amazing thing is that I have almost entirely drifted away from mass media on the Web. Most of my online experience is reading various sources with fewer than 1,000 subscribers in Bloglines. In fact, I would say that most of my subscriptions I share with less than 100 people. And it wasn’t that the content got so much better over the past 6 months. What changed was my adoption of Typepad, Bloglines, del.icio.us, and Firefox. There is some amazing stuff out there written by very smart people about very pertinent stuff (at least to me). But I never would have found them, regardless of how good they were, without these basic technologies.
My biggest complaint is that I feel more and more like a freeloader of the system. (I’ll blog a bit more about this in the next few days). I consume more than I contribute. I find myself with 10 or 15 open Word drafts just waiting to get fleshed out, most of which wind up being abandoned as the subject matter becomes increasingly stale (which can happen is a matter of days, or hours…) I still find it amazing that many of you contribute what you do every day. I feel like my own processes leave a lot to be desired.
So, I’m going to double my efforts and contribute more to this blog (while at the same time trying to consume less – RSS aggregators remind me of my first e-mail clients and the subsequent e-mail addiction that continues to this day.) I’m going to try to post more frequently and more succinctly. But the process is still harder than it should be and I’m hoping that the tools continue to improve at the rate we’ve seen over the past year. Anyway, the point is, blogging has been an enormously successful investment of my time and attention. I just hope the equation isn’t so one-sided in the future.