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passionate blogger

The Passionate Blogger

This afternoon I felt genuine passion in business. Those of you who know me will know just how much I loathe the misappropriation of the word 'passion' in business and would, I hope, appreciate just how much it took for me to use it here as I tell you about an argument I had over the meaning of the word 'blog'.

Passion in business

We've all met them haven't we? Hello, my name's Trevor and I'm passionate about saving you money on your car insurance. I loathe and detest the use of the word passion in business - have done for years, ever since the word first slimed its way into the vernacular via programmes such as The Apprentice.

Lord Sugar: Give me one good reason why I shouldn't fire you.

Candidate: Oh, Lord Sugar, I'm passionate about business and if you just give me the chance to prove it to you then you'll see...

Me: #nobber

Nevertheless, today I felt genuine passion in a business context. I realised I was exhibiting passion because I was having (as I tweeted shortly afterwards) a full-on, testosterone-fuelled debate about what a blog is and also because the person I was arguing with is someone who I class as a very good friend. Normally, when it appears a heated exchange is imminent, I'm the first to try to head it off at the pass, Greens like me do that.This time I really wanted to go up the Khyber Pass and there was no chance of anything being headed-off. The definition of a blog mattered that much to me.

It didn't only matter to me either

I also knew that it mattered to my friend too as today was the third consequtive day that he'd asked me: Do I need a blog on my website? So I invited him into the office at Old Batford Mill, asked him to pull-up a chair and I told him that we were going to have that discussion right there and then. Because it mattered.

A seemingly innocent enough question quickly led us willy nilly along a rather precarious mountain pass, a trek that, despite the crevasses, proved to be incredibly worthwhile yet never too hazardous because friendship was the safety gear we were both equipped with. After a few minutes we found ourselves arguing about: what makes a blog; what makes a blogger and whether a particular page we were looking at was a blog or not even though it had been written with a blog.

You know how arguments go, you end up arguing over minutiae in pursuit of your point and this argument was no exception. The fulcrum of our argument became a hypothetical and contentious webpage with just one photo and a number of words beside it and debating whether that was a blog.

<-- ding ding -->

My friend's mobile rang and he left the room. Whilst he was out I took the opportunity to print out a blog I'd posted on this website back in April 2013 entitled To Blog Or Not To Blog. The blog sets out that one can regard the word 'blog' as either a noun or a verb and goes on to make the point that, imho, the purpose of a blog is to open a two way communication with your audience and, amongst other things, to be so engaging that your Customers would feel utterly compelled to comment, to be controversial, to be outspoken, to be colourful, to be relevant and become commercially attractive by being known for saying and/or doing something.

Seconds out <-- Round 2 -->

We opened by talking about something else entirely but returned to the earlier topic of conversation and didn't hesitate picking-up at the pace we broke off at. In the quest for a definition of what a blog was, my attempt to introduce Twitter as a microblog was rejected and so I didn't feel we'd get anywhere exploring the different blog flavours such as photo blogs, vlogs, podcasts and YouTube channels. We hammered-on, in pursuit of a mutually agreeable truth and agreed that the noun|verb examination held up and that being created by a blog didn't necessarily make a webpage a blog. People blog for so many different reasons; some blog to make money; some blog to practice what they preach; some blog to secure a thought leadership position; some blog as a component of their SEO strategy; some blog just because everyone else does; and the reality is that, in a commercial scenario, the only real measure is whether the blog genuinely satisfies tangible business objectives. That much we agreed upon.

Quality not quantity

We're still friends. We didn't fall out. If we did fall out over the definition of a blog then it couldn't have been much of a friendship in the first place now could it? The very real, non-hypothetical blog page that we had settled-upon and argued around was, we agreed, not much on the eye - the delicate balance between words and images had been lost. I conceded that, yes, a page with just one photo and a number of words could be deemed to be a blog. I had started out by saying that the object blog page lacked content and needed 'more'. We agreed that what truly made the difference was the quality of both image and words and what they made happen together on the page. My sparring partner agreed that the way a page looked made a big difference and that the question Does it look like a blog? can also be a defining one too.

The view from the top of the pass

Using a blog (the noun, the tool) doesn't make you a blogger. Having a comments panel and social media buttons doesn't make what you've written a blog. A blog has to look like it means business and, in a sector that hears the word 'authenticity' being poorly attributed just like the word 'passion', a blog has to be authentic and make the reader understand that there's genuine motivation, real intent behind the writing of the blog post - that the author genuinely wanted to pick something up and start something. Wanna make something of it?

My name is Steve. I acknowledge that there is such a thing as passion in business.However, passion is truly rare. Passion is the thing that fuels long, heated arguments between good friends. Genuine passion draws lines in the sand and runs the risk of hurting those you care about and fracturing relationships which matter. Now, tell me again that you are passionate about saving me money on my car insurance and expect me to call you a #nobber.

"Does It Look Like A Blog?" - The conclusion of this passionate debate about what makes a blog a blog was simply whether a page looks like a blog. Before my sparring partner and I went a couple of rounds on this debate I was of the opinion that what made a blog was words; at the end of the bout I had changed my position and was the owner of a new point of view that a blog could indeed be just a photo and handful of words.
Last week I launched a blog for the creative commercial photography studio DWP Imaging Limited.
The website exists to prove the point that a blog can indeed consist entirely of posts created from a photo and a paragraph.
Steve Whiting, Sub@omic Ltd avatarSteve Whiting, Sub@omic Ltd4th October 2017Author of 'The Art of Search' - the SEO strategy book 2,500 years in the making.
Round Three Update: I've just had a similar discussion with the aforementioned friend in business. What prompted it was a comment that the friend had not received many new business enquires over the past few months. We talked about why that might be and how he might set about validating these working assumptions; I also mentioned that the loss of enquiries might have come about through the loss of search engine rankings on Google.
Rather than document the entire discussion (which was far less heated than round one), let me cut to the chase. What my friend in business outlined was a desire for some kind of journal, some kind of area of the website, where he could document some of the projects he was working on at present. Such an area of the website would allow him to write using keywords of relevance and significance, which would help him get found on Google.
I was thrilled to hear the sound of pennies-dropping, six years after our initial conversation that sparked this blog post. I said I could help him. I said I'd need 3-4 minutes to show him how such an area would be accessed in his website. I showed him how quickly journal pages could be written and published. What I did not tell him was that what he had outlined and was presently looking at was a blog.
Steve Whiting, Sub@omic Ltd avatarSteve Whiting, Sub@omic Ltd13th October 2022Author of 'The Art of Search' - the SEO strategy book 2,500 years in the making.
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