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I blog, therefore I am- NOT! Are you really blogging well?

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There are many rules to blogging:

  • – Keep it brief
  • – Leave it solid but open ended for counter views
  • – Use visuals
  • – Use humor to lead to the promised land
  • – Don’t insult the audience

blah blah blah… there’s a hundred of these, but none of these address why your post sits there, traffic doesn’t move and seems to never grow- why? Because your attempt to network using blogging is just that, an attempt.

This article was first published on AgentGenius.com on October 17, 2007.

In order for your blog to be anywhere near growing you must stop clicking refresh over and over again hoping for progress in your ‘mybloglog’ for gratification. You must look instead at your blogroll, and yes, click one of the links- yes, you must actually leave your home and go out. Don’t panic yet, it gets even worse.

Once you’re out in the blogoverse you’re actually going to have to read others material. I know what you’re saying- this sucks man! Why can’t they just come to me naturally? It’s simple- You don’t exist.

Think you’re so popular, I must be talking to the newbie blogger? Keep reading…

Networking requires you to listen up for a conversation of interest; it then requires you to step in, say hello, and say either hell yes, I agree, or hell no, you’re wrong and here’s why. In networking, you show your stuff by adding to the conversation- this is real world application, and it applies online too. Even if you could care less, engaging lands clients- we all know this, it’s what we do for a living (some of us anyway).

If you’re not out commenting on others blogs, clicking in and shaking hands, who is ever going to even notice you standing there? There’s no such thing online as a wallflower, in fact, you simply do not exist.

So add these three rules to the long list of blogging DOs and make it cardinal in your approach to success.

  1. Write a great blog? Then get out and promote it by engaging other conversations on other blogs. People click on your link when your point of view is of interest.
  2. When networking, never ever allow yourself to be the invisible wallflower. If this is your idea of blog networking, you simply do not exist.
  3. You are never to good to comment- do it. I don’t care who you are, how successful you are in blogging or at life. You’re nothing without your readers- support great writing by commenting, even if you could really care less. Networking requires nothing of you but to support others so that they may find value in supporting you.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. loren nason

    October 17, 2007 at 5:37 am

    Well said.

    I have to say that I fail to comment as much as I should but I do try.

    🙂

    Loren

  2. Benn Rosales

    October 17, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    haha well, Im bad at it too… doesnt make me wrong on this one heh

  3. Jonathan Dalton

    October 17, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    If I listened to the rules at the top I’d have given up the ghost long, long ago.

  4. Athol Kay

    October 17, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    I commented so much I was turned into spam and had to resort to a sock puppet as a moniker.

    True Story.

  5. Toronto realtor

    October 18, 2007 at 10:13 am

    See Benn,
    this is an entry I can agree with 100%. Nobody should think his/her blog is the one and only, and simply the best. But if it really turns out to be exceptional, the blogger should promote it. Hey, if you are the best, let us know about it! Dont be selfish, spread the word.

  6. Chris Lengquist

    October 18, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    I’m sure you consider me an exception, right? 🙂

  7. Benn Rosales

    October 18, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    You are the exception to almost everything Chris!

  8. ines

    October 20, 2007 at 3:11 am

    hello Benn!! : )
    …seriously, this is basic stuff…I wish the day had more hours.

  9. Ann Cummings

    October 21, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    Hell yes, I agree!!!

    I need to comment more on those posts and blogs that I do read. Thanks for the reminder!

  10. Toronto realtor

    December 18, 2007 at 6:55 am

    Hello Benn, I have just got back to your blog. Yes, Chris, of course, I consider you an exception. It seems that Benn does know you better thatn I do. Or, perhaps, he has read more of your comments recently. Anyway, thanks for this post and your more recent ones, too.

  11. Jeremy Hart

    February 16, 2008 at 6:49 am

    so … Then I blog, therefore I am?

  12. Jeremy Hart

    February 16, 2008 at 6:52 am

    oops, meant to say “I COMMENT, therefore I am”. I’m going back to lurking.

  13. Benn Rosales

    February 16, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Ha! No lurking!

  14. Erin Golding

    January 5, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Glad you brought this one back Benn! It follows my New Years resolution to comment on all these blogs I read!

  15. Diane Haley Brooks

    January 5, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    I love this. I do have to say that I read many blogs and fail to comment on them many times so that will be a great thing for me to remember ~ if I am thinking it out loud then I should just write it on the comments. I do love to pass the blogs along though ~ thanks for writing this! Spot on!!

  16. Lisa Heindel

    January 5, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    With few exceptions, I don’t think any of us take the time to comment on other’s posts like we should. It’s too easy to hit the “like” button and move on rather than taking the time to formulate an actual response.

  17. Fred Romano

    January 5, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    blogging is fun, but making money from your website is wayyyyy better!

  18. Bryan Thompson

    January 6, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Benn, This was one of those things I failed to grasp for YEARS. I would keep content updated, and tried to make it count, and I would wonder why people wouldn’t comment. Why wouldn’t traffic come? I would tweet more, I would post to Facebook, still, nothing. And when those sweet generous souls would comment, I would wait for more comments. I had no idea I should be replying to their comments. The idea of conversation eluded me. It wasn’t until the last year that I began getting some blog coaching that I realized just how important networking is. And just like that (snap of the fingers), I began to get traffic. Thanks for the tips, man. Hope your New Year is off to a great start!

  19. Randy Pereira

    January 6, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Thanks for writing this. I’m always reading some great posts online, but fail to comment.
    Definitely trying to contribute/comment more in the New Year.

  20. Christa Borellini

    January 6, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Thank you for the reminder that I really need to get out there and engage in other’s blogs. It’s easy to forget when you get caught up in the daily grind.

  21. Courtney Buie

    January 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    As a newbie, this is timely advice for me, but a practice in the online community I was beginning to notice already. Those networking/support connections through SM do eventually happen, but you have to be diligent about reaching out as someone new to the “community”. Thanks for the advice and encouragement!

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Social Media

Reels: Why Instagram can’t compete with TikTok… yet?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The future for Instagram Reels is uncertain, since even Instagram has acknowledge that TikTok is far ahead of them, but what does it mean for their future?

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Phone camera on stand in foreground with two women filming for TikTok or Instagram reels in the background

If you’re a TikTok user, chances are you’ve scoffed at Instagram’s attempt to compete with the hype. Yes, I’m referring to the Reels feature.

In an attempt to step in and absorb all the TikTok user run-off in August, when Trump announced the TikTok ban, Instagram launched Reels. Short, catchy and sharable clips, Reels are almost exactly like TikTok videos – but are they catching on?

In an interview with The Verge’s “Decoder” podcast, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri says that he isn’t yet happy with Reels, stating that TikTok is still “way ahead”. While Reels is growing in terms of shared content and consumed content, it’s not nearly where Instagram hoped it would be by this point. Perhaps this is because TikTok is still alive and well. Or perhaps there’s something else to it.

It’s interesting to note that some of the most popular Reels on Instagram are simply reposted TikToks. This poses the question: Is Instagram’s Reels simply a channel where the ‘cream of the crop’ TikTok videos can get posted in a second location and exposed to a new audience, or is it actually a platform for creators?

Mosseri also hints at some sort of consolidation across Instagram’s video features (i.e., IGTV, in-post videos, Reels). Without being entirely sure what that will look like, I’m already skeptical – is this all just another example of Facebook (via Instagram) trying to hold a monopoly on the social media sphere?

My opinion? As long as TikTok is still in operation, it will reign supreme. While the two apps have a ton of overlap, they are simply different cultural spaces. TikTok is a trend-heavy, meta-humor creative space that relies on engagement between users through effect, duets, and other TikTok-exclusive features.

Adversely, Reels is a space for Instagramming millennials and Gen Xers who might be choosing to opt out of TikTok (which has sort of become the cultural epicenter for the younger Gen Zers). The feature might also be used by Insta influencers and creators of all ages who toggle between the two apps (i.e., reposting your viral TikTok on Instagram to gain more traction).

Whatever the reason is for engaging in Reels, I’m fully certain the feature will never amount to the success of TikTok – but I guess we’ll have to wait to see what Instagram has in store for us next.

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How this influencer gained 26k followers during the pandemic

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Becoming an influencer on social media can seem appealing, but it’s not easy. Check out this influencer’s journey and her rise during the pandemic.

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Influencer planning her social media posts.

Meet Carey McDermott – a 28-year-old Boston native – more widely known by her Instagram handle @subjectively_hot. Within a few months, since March, McDermott has accrued a whopping 26k following, and has successfully built her brand around activism, cheeky observations of day-to-day bullshit, and her evident hotness.

“It mostly started as a quarantine project.” Said McDermott, who was furloughed from her job at the start of shelter-in-place. “I had a lot of free time and I wanted to do an Instagram for a while so I thought, ‘I might as well take some pictures of myself.’”

To get started McDermott, used a lot of hashtags relevant to her particular niche to get noticed, and would follow other influencers that used similar hashtags.

“I definitely built a little online community of women, and we all still talk to each other a lot.”

Like many popular influencers, McDermott engages with her audience as much as possible. She is sure to like or reply to positive comments on her pictures, which makes followers feel special and seen, and subsequently more likely to follow and continue following her account. She also relies heavily on some of Instagram’s more interactive features.

When asked why she thinks she has been able to build and retain such a large base in just a few months, McDermott explained: “I think people like my [Instagram] Stories because I do a lot of polls and ask fun questions for people to answer, and then I repost them”.

But it’s not just fun and games for @subjectively_hot – Carey wants to use her account to make some substantial bread.

“I’ve gotten a bunch of products gifted to me in exchange for unpaid ads and I’m hoping to expand that so I can get paid ads and sponsorships. But free products are nice!”

Additionally, McDermott was recently signed with the talent agency the btwn – a monumental achievement which she attributes to her influencer status.

“Having a large Instagram following gave me the confidence to reach out to a modeling brand. After they looked at my Instagram, they signed me without asking for any other pictures.”

To aspiring influencers, McDermott offers this advice:

“Find your niche. Find your brand. Find what makes you unique and be yourself – don’t act like what you think an influencer should act like. People respond to you being authentic and sharing your real life. And definitely find other people in similar niches as you and build connections with them.”

But McDermott also warns against diving too unilaterally into your niche, and stresses the importance of a unique, multi-dimensional online persona.

“[@subjectively_hot] is inherently a plus size account. But a lot of plus size Instagrams are just about being plus size, and are only like, “I’m confident and here’s my body”. I don’t want to post only about body positively all day, I want it to be about me and being hot.”

And you definitely can’t paint this girl in broad strokes. I personally find her online personality hilarious, self-aware, and brutally anti-patriarchal (she explicitly caters to all walks of life minus the straight cis men who, to her dismay, frequent her DMs with unsolicited advice, comments, and pictures). Her meme and TikTok curations are typically some of the silliest, most honest content I see that day and, as her handle suggests, her pictures never fail in their hotness value.

For McDermott, right now is about enjoying her newfound COVID-era celebrityhood. Her next steps for @subjectively_hot include getting paid ads and sponsorships, and figuring out the most effective way to monetize her brand. The recent spike in COVID-19 cases threaten her chances of returning to the place of her former employment in the hospitality industry.

With so many influencers on Instagram and other platforms, some might find it hard to cash in on their internet fame. But with a loyal fanbase addicted to her golden, inspiring personality, I think Carey will do just fine.

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TikTok: A hotbed of cultural appropriation, and why it matters

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Gen Z’s favorite app TikTok is the modern epicenter for cultural appropriation – why you as a business owner should care.

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TikTok creator with a phone recording on a stand, but dances can be a sign of cultural appropriation.

Quarantine has been the catalyst for a sleuth of new cultural phenomena – Tiger King, Zoom, and baking addictions, to name a few. Perhaps most notably, TikTok has seen user numbers skyrocket since lockdown. And I don’t think those numbers are going down any time soon.

TikTok is a very special place. More so than any other social media apps I’ve engaged with, TikTok feels like a true community where total strangers can use the app’s duet or audio features to interact in creative, collaborative ways.

However, being able to use another user’s original audio or replicate their dance has highlighted the prevalence of cultural appropriation on TikTok: the app, as wholesome as it may be at times, has also become a hot bed for “virtual blackface”.

The most notable example of appropriation has to do with the Renegade dance and Charli D’Amelio – who is young, White, and arguably the most famous TikTok influencer (she is second only to Addison Rae, who is also White). The dance, originally created by 14-year-old Black user Jalaiah Harmon, essentially paved the way for D’Amelio’s fame and financial success (her net worth is estimated to be $8 million).

Only after Twitter backlash did D’Amelio credit Harmon as the original creator of the dance to which she owes her wealth – up until that point, the assumption was the dance was hers.

There is indeed a myriad of exploitative and appropriative examples of TikTok videos. Some of the most cringe-worthy include White users pantomiming black audio, in many cases affecting AAVE (African American Vernacular English). Styles of dance and music that were pioneered by Black artists have now been colonized by White users – and many TikTokers are not made aware of their cultural origins.

And what’s worse: TikTok’s algorithms favor White users, meaning White-washed iterations of videos tend to get more views, more engagement and, subsequently, more financial gains for the creator.

As you can imagine, TikTok’s Black community is up in arms. But don’t take it from me (a non-Black individual) – log onto the app and listen to what Black users have to say about cultural appropriation for yourself.

Still, the app is one of the fastest growing. Companies are finding creative ways to weave their paid ads and more subliminal marketing strategies into the fabric of the ‘For You’ page. In many ways, TikTok is the next frontier in social media marketing.

With a few relevant locational hashtags and some innovative approaches to advertising, your business could get some serious FREE attention on TikTok. In fact, it’s the future.

As aware and socially conscious small business owners, we need to make sure that while we are using the app to get ours, that the Black creators and artists who made the app what it is today are also getting theirs. Anything short of direct accountability for the platform and for caustic White users would be offensive.

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