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Old 11-11-2014, 20:48   #1
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Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

I kind of want to start a sailing blog at some point, but I'm not sure a blog is the best way to communicate. Let's be honest, blogs are so 1999 - antiquated technology. I work as a software engineer, so web development is not a problem - I'm willing to code up something better, within reason (time constraints).

Blogs are great for posting photos and reaching an audience outside the sailing community, but I've noticed many don't get much interaction - even the well written ones. I don't want to start a blog and have it feel like the writing effort is for naught - like talking to an empty room.

Forums like cruisersforum are great for reaching a lot of people in the sailing community, but aren't so good at posting rich media (photos, video) or reaching non-sailors.

Next I'd consider social networks - I don't like Facebook much, but Google+ actually has pretty good community features - communities oriented around interests like photography, etc. But not sure how popular that would be, and you kind of need to post frequently, not weekly or monthly.

Next up is YouTube. S/V Delos' channel is the best example I know of that is communicating what cruising is like, and I've watched every video. But I don't have great talent with video or reality TV. So not sure I could do that successfully, but maybe something similar along those lines would work, but with a different style.

The goal of the blog or other media form would be just to share my learnings, adventures (photos and video) and learn from others.
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Old 11-11-2014, 21:55   #2
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tessellate View Post
The goal of the blog or other media form would be just to share my learnings, adventures (photos and video) and learn from others.
Tessellate, you are searching for something that already exists - Cruisers Forum. Start a thread/threads on your experiences. You will reach a huge number of readers (more than any other sailing forum), and you will get the interaction you are seeking.

No need to reinvent the wheel .
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Old 11-11-2014, 21:58   #3
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

Tessellate,
I agree with you. I enjoy UTubes "Untie the Lines" but I am envious of S/V Delos - they are a joy to watch but i suspect I will never get that good. Would be interested in something better than a blog but not too complicated to use.
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Old 11-11-2014, 22:19   #4
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

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Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
Tessellate, you are searching for something that already exists - Cruisers Forum. Start a thread/threads on your experiences. You will reach a huge number of readers (more than any other sailing forum), and you will get the interaction you are seeking.

No need to reinvent the wheel .
Cruisers Forum is awesome - don't get me wrong - but it's forum software that the vast majority of the world hasn't used in the last 10 years. Social networks took over for most Internet dialogue a while ago. Specialty forums still have their place for particular interests like this.

But the amazing thing about S/V Delos for example is they've managed to bridge the divide between sailors and non-sailors. They've made accessible the attraction of cruising. 99.9% of people don't know the difference between weather helm and lee helm, and therefore a more accessible format is the only thing they'll ever spend time on before moving back to their Facebook feed.
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Old 11-11-2014, 22:30   #5
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

If something says 'facebook' I hastily click off. I don't
tweet. Google+ plum evades me. The text capability
on my flip phone is turned off. I've got my 7 or 8
sites I look at and then I have a life. Web development
may continue apace without me.

I will check out S/V Delos's youtubes though.
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Old 11-11-2014, 23:00   #6
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jongleur View Post
If something says 'facebook' I hastily click off. I don't
tweet. Google+ plum evades me. The text capability
on my flip phone is turned off. I've got my 7 or 8
sites I look at and then I have a life. Web development
may continue apace without me.

I will check out S/V Delos's youtubes though.
About facebook. looked at it once. That was enough. Not interested in tweets, if only because of the name. I have only four web sites that I look at and my prepaid mobile phone is never switched on unless I wish to make a call. $20 credit will last me all year. Blogs? Never even look at them. I am just not that interested in other folk's lives I guess. Guess I am not going to be his best customer.

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Old 11-11-2014, 23:09   #7
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pirate Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

[QUOTE=Coops;1675792] About facebook. looked at it once. That was enough. Not interested in tweets, if only because of the name. I have only four web sites that I look at and my prepaid mobile phone is never switched on unless I wish to make a call. $20 credit will last me all year. Blogs? Never even look at them. I am just not that interested in other folk's lives I guess. Guess I am not going to be his best customer.

Coops.[/QUOTE)

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Old 12-11-2014, 06:18   #8
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

Facebook (social media) tends to be like a conversation. A week from now, you won't be able to remember what was said. It's fine for a quick answer or just to stay connected but I find it tends to get muddled and confused the further into the past you try to look and it's quite hard to keep people directed on the same subject.

Forums like this are still quite popular but serve a different function. They are more focused but generally are more question and answer as opposed to see what I had for dinner last night.

While it's getting better, I think you will find a large percentage of cruisers avoid media rich sites. They are often dealing with slow or expensive internet connections so you won't find a big fan base for a high bandwidth site.

Lots of tech savy people set up a stand alone web site. This allows them to provide the format they prefer and if desired, they can have a section that is a blog.

I think blogs break down into two paths:
- I'm going to make money blogging about something...these I agree are outdated and unless you have a very interesting life and some impressive writing skills it's no longer a route to fame and fortune (if it ever really was)
- The other path is essentially a personal diary that you let other people read. If they read it fine but if not, it's something you can go back to and relive the memories you created. If someone else enjoy's it great but that secondary.

Rather than focusing on the technology, figure out what you are trying to do and let the form follow the function.
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Old 12-11-2014, 07:29   #9
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

There are two ways of looking at it.

1) Some write/post to share with family / friends / whoever stumbles upon.

2) Some write/post to create traffic. The second group are people who hope to make profit on their production or to create traffic towards other places that will pay them for the traffic.

If you are into the first group, you will be happy with whatever platform your family / friends (not you!) prefer. Today many people prefer fb. Some hate fb and these will never come to read your fb page. But you can blog at X (say wordpress) and repost snippets via fb and twitter. This will work very well imho ad 2014.

If you are into the second group then you MUST be where the crowd is and that is fb (and to a much lesser degree twitter). Again, how much you push there and how much you re-snippet from other platforms depends on the type of content you want to push. I would start at fb and see where it is lacking, then go and post my vids, casts and images wherever they have the highest chance of getting clicks. I would reblog and link accordingly.

The more platforms you need for your content, the more work you have, the more money you may make. But only if your content is good enough and meets the users' expectations and search patterns.

If your content is of outstanding, unique value, you may go for a website with incorporated blog / video / photography / tracking / whatever channels. I do not think this is where the future is but I know this is where one can use the technology to the max. See VOR site to know what I am talking about.

If you do not want to be talking to en empty room:

- get some quality content ready,
- make a splash, get media exposure,
- publish the pre-prep content immediately,
- react to public reaction (filter out nasty comments, respond to positive ones),
- keep on grinding delivering frequent updates with interesting material,
- watch and use the response (!!!)
- adjust, improve, grow.

Understand how google crowlers work and use this knowledge to your advantage.

Hope this helps somewhat. I used to ghost blog extensively and still do it on a less strict schedule.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 12-11-2014, 09:18   #10
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

Good ideas valhalla and barnakiel. I'm not looking to make money, just share ideas, photos and video.

I think the way to go might be with a standalone site using WordPress or other blog publishing platform. I could set up triggers that would automatically cross post to Facebook and maybe YouTube. That way I'd have three channels, each with their different pros/cons for reaching different people. Maybe by then YouTube will have an automated publishing platform too, so all the text/metadata could be pre-entered while offline.

I like the idea that even if no one reads a blog, it's a personal journal you can use to relive memories. It's more persistent than social network posts.
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Old 12-11-2014, 09:23   #11
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

I'm sure you can do better. It would just be a LOT of work.
If you look at the big media websites, they are pretty well done, and I can see doing something similiar for a personal website. But clearly it means spending a lot of time on it, full-time.

I'll be starting the build of my solar boat next year and have been thinking about how to present the building of it. If it is even worth spending the time on a website.
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Old 12-11-2014, 09:31   #12
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

I agree that the whole blog thing is long in the tooth. But making change just for change's sake doesn't seem to work well in many cases. We went with the Adsense stuff in the early days, and it was more pain than it was worth. In fact when I cancelled Adsense on my blog I told them to keep the money, rather than share any more info with them.

So for something like six years now, our blog has stumbled on with no financial aspects to it whatsoever. It is solely meant as a combination personal journal, and to let our friends and family keep up with what we're up to. A global christmas letter.

So, we still get anywhere from 300 to 900 page views a day, from all over the world.

We just don't have that many friends and family, so SOMEbody is reading it. And I really don't know who, except for the half dozen or so emails we get a week from people who found us on the blog and have started up correspondences. We get a lot of questions about moving to a small island nation.

I've tried plugging in videos and various other little enhancements, but got some comments about making things slow for people to load in remote locations so we've throttled back on that. But if you can come up with a new, entertaining way of presenting the same kind of media, we'd sure be interested in that.
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Old 12-11-2014, 09:59   #13
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

I started my blog mainly for 3 reasons, my daughter and two grandkids. Emailing pictures just wasn't an effective way to share them as pictures of a camping trip might have to be sent in a dozen separate emails due to file size. I can post a whole album in a couple of minutes on my blog using an easy album plug in, and the way it displays them for the viewer makes it nice for them to look at. It's turned out to be great for sharing over a lot of groups, our camping friends, our scattered family, etc. but to be honest if the only people who ever looked at it were my kids that would be fine with me. They love seeing what we're up to and I love sharing with them that way. I joined Facebook for the same reason and my friends list is only populated with actual friends and family. Sometimes my daughter will call and say, "I read your blog, or saw your Facebook post, this morning and I can't wait to get home and show the kids". That makes it all worth it for me.

And the secondary reasons are as a journal/log book of certain things, and to share projects we do with whoever might be interested. If no one is interested that's fine too. I like to journal, I always have, and I prefer typing to writing in a paper log, so it serves that purpose for me. I could really care less who else reads it, but I do find that it gets several hundred visitors some days, so apparently someone does. I write because I like to write and it could be on my blog or in a little book with a lock that I hide under my pillow. It's very therapeutic for me.

My blog has no financial component to it whatsoever and never will.

Facebook, as someone stated previously is just too disorganized and gets so cluttered up with daily junk that you often can't locate something you want to revisit later so it serves a completely different purpose from my blog. But my husband spent 16 years in the military and we have friends, and family, scattered all over the country. Facebook provides a very convenient way to stay involved in all their lives. Keeping up daily with girls I went to high school with is a lot of fun. It has its negatives, most of which are controllable just by controlling who you add as friends and how you set your security settings, but I have found that the positives outweigh them for me. I don't tweet.

It all comes down to what you're trying to accomplish. If widespread readership is the only thing that will make your blog worthwhile to you, then a blog may not be the way to go, or with proper promotion (cross linking to social media sites) it just might eventually grow to where you want it to go. I am not technically savvy enough to do anything more sophisticated, so the blog is just the ticket for me.
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Old 12-11-2014, 10:22   #14
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

In 1998 we moved on board Gilana.

We had just bought a 1st generation digital camera, people came from all over to seee how it worked without having to have film processed. It was a Casio QV5000SX. Cost a fortune!

The word BLOG did not yet exist, and neither did Facebook or Twitter or Wordpress. Cruisersforum was not yet born. I needed a vehicle to get photos to my mom and pop back home, which was to be via dialup connections in cybercafes.

I learned to use HTML, and used Notepad to write the raw code. Embed the pictures and save the pages on a floppy disk. I would then upload them via FTP, and send the family an email via Hotmail which was not owned by Microsoft, to tell my friends to go and see the photos on the web page. Jeez, in those days, Amazon.com only did books, and they send you coffee mugs or coasters, mouse pads and other gifts with every purchase. Hotmail was my first email address after my @compuserve.com account...

Its all come a long way, and I found the thread interesting. I would love to monetize my blog somehow, but I am more interested in what is going on outside in the sun, than in the dark world of bit business. For now, my home-brew typed out HTML web page will have to do...
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Old 12-11-2014, 10:28   #15
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Re: Blogs are so 1990s - can we do better?

I started a couple blogs to see if I could make some money on the side without working too hard. So far it's been surprisingly effective and fun.

I used to think blogs were silly sites that strange people would use when they thought other people cared about their musings. I still think that about Twitter.

Anyway, after getting more experience Wordpress.org sites can very versatile and an effective way to communicate while allowing feedback and reader participation.

Just stay away from Wordpress.com. Stick with the free .org action and control your own hosting. I expect you'll be happy with the options.


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