Posts Tagged ‘blogger’

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What Makes a Good Blog?

January 8, 2009

Let me begin with I don’t have the answer. But, it’s something I’ve been pondering ever since we began our foray into the blogosphere.

What makes a good blog? Is it one that engages readers far and wide or one that draws like-minded people to a particular nexus? Does it inspire positive action or purely entertain? Is the sign of success tens of thousands of readers or a smaller number of active participants in an intriguing dialogue?

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These are the questions I posed to our little hui of native bloggers. Inevitably, our discussions led to more questions than answers such as, “Why are we doing this anyway?” Hubris aside that any of us could begin to portray the depth of Native Hawaiian thought, why indeed are we doing this and can we hope to be successful?

“I think we’ll be successful if we can get people to expand their ideas of who Hawaiians are,” shared contributor extraordinaire Ikaika Macy. “I’m proud to be one full on moke, but I’m also proud that I’m using the skills and education given to me by my ancestors (both Hawaiian and haole) to make a difference in my community.”

“That’s why I’m part of the hui,” continued fellow blogger Caroline Ka‘ahanui. “There are so many really impressive Hawaiians who need to start speaking up. And, if we can at least help to get conversations started, to me that’s success.”

Mulling over these discussions, it occurred to me to look at the blogs I read and ask why I follow them. What makes them successful for me?

kam-mastWhile I read a lot of blogs for work (like Mack Collier’s Viral Garden and Chris Brogan) and for news (e.g., The New York Times’ The Lede, and KCRW’s Left, Right and Center), I love reading about what makes Hawai‘i Hawai‘i (like Ryan Ozawa’s Hawai‘i Blog and Nathan Kam’s Kam Family). Note, Native Hawaiian bloggers, send us your links. We would love to hear what you’re saying.

melissaThere is one constant I noticed among these diverse blogs – each has a particular voice. If you’ve ever read Melissa Chang’s Urban Mix Plate or Amber Naslund’s Altitude Branding you know right away who wrote it. Like most of the bloggers I follow, their voices (and hence personalities) are clear and consistent.

So with only these few criteria for success, we humbly put it before you the readers, what makes a good blog? Share your thoughts, we’re eager to learn.

Mahalo

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To Tweet or Not To Tweet

November 21, 2008

A few months back, some friends and I were having an email conversation. As messages flew through cyberspace, someone asked “Why aren’t we using Twitter for this? After all, that’s what it’s for…”

I fully admit that I’ve been more than a little reluctant to join the throngs of mini-bloggers. I just couldn’t see the point. Does anyone really care what I’m doing right now? And, isn’t this just one more thing to track?

“What, you’re not on Twitter?”

“What’s wrong with you? Don’t you know all the cool kids tweet?”

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Well, I’ve never been one of the cool kids and I’ve always been slightly lazy. My email and IM accounts deliver messages just fine, thank you very much.

With the vehemence of their response, you would have thought that I kicked a dog. My friends were sure I was holding up my torch, ready to set fire to their virtual community. It’s as if I said, “I rebuke you Twitter in the name of the 19th century. I will not forsake my quill nor abandon my manual typewriter.”

Of course, their reactions made me dig my heels in further – or at least appear to. I don’t really have anything against Twitter or those who tweet. It was just fun to rile them up. Can’t you just talk with me? Have you entirely lost your ability to interact with people in the real world? How sad that you’ve become a virtual slave!

So, it’s with hat in hand, that I now admit that I have succumbed. Friends Melissa Chang and Nathan Kam played to my Pake side.

“Isn’t it your JOB to know what’s going on? To talk with people?”

“You can talk with an entire community of influential people at once. And, they’ll pass the word on to their friends, who will pass the word on to their friends. Isn’t this the definition of grassroots marketing?”

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With that, I stuck my toe into the Twitter waters.

As the Hawai‘i publicist for Cirque du Soleil, I was handed a challenge – how to get people talking about my show when the only thing on people’s mind at the time was the now historic presidential campaign.

Nathan, as always carrying the banner for social networking, said, “put it on Twitter.”

He cheerfully spread the word through his Twitterverse (I kid you not, there is an entire lexicon of Twitterese) that Cirque du Soleil’s Hawai‘i show was not to be missed. He even proposed (and got) a Twitter specific discount. While I was grateful for the help, I still watched from the shore as this virtual community began rallying around my show.

The final push came as Melissa and I had lunch – she sat there tweeting away. “So and so says you should do this… so and so says you should do that.” How could anyone withstand such an assault? I caved and opened my Twtitter account.

I must say I was pleasantly surprised. When Melissa introduced me to her Tweeps, many sent kind messages of welcome. It’s somehow reassuring to know that the niceties continue – even in cyberspace.

I still question if anyone really cares what I’m doing right now and if this is just another tool to which I’ll become addicted. But, it has been fun and informative – and it definitely did help my show.

I don’t think I’ll ever be as social as Melissa and Nathan. However, maybe with a little coaxing I’ll put down my quill. Just don’t ask me to give up my typewriter.