What is a (We)blog?
Normally blogs are defined as "Online diary". But I see it as "the place to log our ideas for future reference".
Are blogs useful?
Let me try and explain it with an example! I have come across many ppls who used to copy the projects which they work in their company for future reference !! They do things like,
1. Uploading it to yahoo briefcase,
2. Zip it and send themself a mail,
3. Burn it into a CD etc.,
But practically they wouldn't be in need of the whole project as such. They might be interested in a piece of code which could be reused in some of their future projects. Please be adviced that its not right to copy the projects or IP (intellectual property) from your previous company. I feel it to be unethical. I know, perceptions vary :).
When ever you learn something new (or) come across any new topic which you feel would be of use in future then I suggest you to blog about it. Down the line in a year or so if you look back there would be decent collection of information which would be useful for you in future as well as for others.
Not only your old projects, what ever you feel would be useful can be logged here in this electronic media rather than just adding it to your browsers favorites or scribbling it in a notepad. As this would be long lasting.
Other way to look at it is, almost always we learn most of the stuff from internet. Shouldn't it be nice if we start giving back / contributing to it?
Don't get me wrong. I am not talking only for technical bloggers. If at all you are a non-techie guy, lets say a sales person. Then you might want to see this "Top 10 reasons you need as sales blog". So what ever trade you are in, there might be some good / valid reason for having a blog.
How do you find time to do this? Are you always free?
This is one of the question many people ask me. Those people have an opinion that people who blog are totally free and jobless :) It's not true.
I normally dedicate 1 to 2 hours in a day (time of the day varies, normally its @ night times) to blog as well as read others blog. It all boils down to how well we manage our time.
Mind you, starting a blog is pretty easy but maintaining it is tough. We need to keep reading and update ourself with the latest happenings in our field.
Reading others blog? How do you keep track of whose blog to read etc.,
There are quite a few tools availabe on the web which would help one in managing this. For example, there is a site called Bloglines (there are numerous RSS / ATOM feed readers like this in the web. Google too also has one by name Google Reader.) where we could register (for free) and just add the path of all the feeds of those blogs which you feel like reading. [If at all you wanna add me to your list .. this is my ATOM feed http://vadivel.blogspot.com/atom.xml]
This way, you just need to login into one single site where you could read all posts from all the blogs of your choice. Easy isn't it.
How do you know what and what not to blog?
These are few basic steps which I take care while blogging. Just see whether this would be of use to you.
a. I would suggest you stay away from blogging about your company or the project you do at present. I have read enough about those who have lost their jobs just because of blogging or cribbing about their company.
Though there are companies like Microsoft which allows their workers to blog / crib about their company freely. One good example is Scoble's blogspace. When you are not sure about the blogging policy of your company then its always better to stay away from blogging about it. Hope scoble would also vouchee for it :)
b. Be yourself. Don' start blogging something for the sake of others. People are there to know what you personally feel about a situation or an issue.
c. Create a trend for yourself or in other words try and be unique. I know its pretty tough. Still no harm in giving it a try.
How to handle readers comments?
Go through all the comments and give importance to only those which seems to be constructive criticism. Ignore all those destructive criticism as it is not going to help you in anyway.
How to make people comment on your blog post?
You might want to check my another post on this here >> http://vadivel.blogspot.com/2006/06/tips-for-attracting-more-comments.html
Joe Antony of VoiceOfScape group pointed me to this article. Thought would add that article here for the sake of completion.
1. I somewhat feel his post isn't complete yet. So I might update this post when ever I feel so :)
2. If you feel I have missed out anything or you want me to correct something do post it as a comment or mail me @ firstname.lastname@example.org