I was part of a discussion at work yesterday on how we should publicize our expertise. Not through direct marketing, but through social networking methods. Many people at the group suggested that they should start a blog. I personally think this is a bad idea, yeah ironic considering this post is COMING from a blog. The real issue here is not to create yet another blog that really has no purpose or reason for the world to come to (like this one) but rather there is a need to establish an online identity that will allow others to understand your perceived expertise. Then the obvious question is how do you gauge a person’s worth based on an online identity? First off, how do you create an online identity to being with?
It seems that in the world of Facebook, Myspace and other community aggregators, the best place to develop a professional or perceived experienced identity is to hit the forums. The communities are focused and the layout works in a simple question and answer format. As you post questions and reply to others, your identity develops into a viable member of that community and is easily recognized by others. This of course takes time which truthfully not many people really devote enough to. Plus I do not know about you but I only go to forums if I have a question. I rarely stay long enough to be part of that community but I do rely on those in the forums that are perceived as experts to help answer my questions. So though forums are seen as a wonderful resource, they are just not as attractive as blogs are.
A blogging community is great for capturing the proverbial ‘this is what I did today’ and comments are reflective of such. What blogs still fail at is the ability establish an effective dialog with a visitor. Unless you are an effective writer with the uncanny ability to come up with compelling posts, many people will not stay long enough to understand who you are let alone be able to find you in the first place. That is why Facebook or other blogging communities makes sense. It is driven by people that want to be discovered quickly without the effort of developing a mature online identity. I personally like the independence a privately held blog has to offer yet I too am trying to be part of a community by attaching this site to Blog Catalog and my Blog Log.
So the question remains, who are you? That all depends on your activity on the web. To create a blog and expect people to find you is a terrible approach, like this site! Seriously, everyone has an opinion, it is just that not everyone will be heard, even on the web. If you build it, they will not come. If you talk about it EVERYWHERE, some will stop by. If you stay long enough, they will attach. If it sucks, you’re out of luck.