Mattering in the Blogosphere

I opened my mailbox today to find my copy of American Libraries! Somehow I missed the part about my survey responses being published! Anyway, I was one of 10 librarian bloggers to answer a quick email survey about blogging. Like Rochelle already mentioned, they didn’t include the URLs to our blogs (which seems weird) so here they are (in alpha order):

Since it looks like our answers were edited, here’s my complete survey – unedited (in fact I haven’t even read it in months – hope it’s okay).

What does it take for a blog to have an impact on the biblioblogosphere?

One post – that’s all it takes. One post where you voice your opinion in an honest, well thought-out way. After that, people will come to your blog to hear what you have to say on the newest hot topic.

What do the readers of your blog value about your posts (i.e., “voice” as an online columnist, value-added news coverage)?

Honesty is key. Your readers will know if you’re not being honest. A blog allows you to add your voice to the many others out there – if you’re not honest, people will stop reading. The other aspect my readers value are the tools I point them to. I am always getting thank-you notes for pointing out some new tool that people weren’t aware of.

How do you decide when to post””inspiration, obligation to keep the blog fresh and readers engaged, or what?

Inspiration – I never post out of obligation, if I did then people would become bored. I post when I find something that makes me say “Oh Wow!” or when I read something that makes me start talking to myself – that’s when it’s time to share my opinions in a blog post.

How do you determine what the right length is for a given post?

I write until my point has been made. I’ve had 2 word posts and 2000 word posts; it depends on how much I have to say on a given topic. Blogging isn’t something you set rules to – “Post X number of times a day”, “Never post more than X words”, these aren’t things I’ve ever thought and they’re another thing that will probably lose you readers.

What has surprised you most about the process of blogging?

How easy it was. When I first set up my blog, I thought it was going to be so hard to find my voice among the many others that were already out there, but it wasn’t. Once you let your guard down, you’ll find that you had more to say that you realized.

What lessons can libraries learn from your experiences as an individual blogger?

People are reading! By putting your voice out there you’re putting your name out there – your library’s name – and it makes more of a difference than you’d ever imagine. Don’t assume that no one wants to hear what you have to say – there’s always someone!

What’s missing from the LIS blogosphere that you’d like to see someone take on?

I can’t think of anything that hasn’t already been covered (Edit: which by the way – I was wrong about)

How will the blogs of today be regarded a decade from now? Should digital libraries collect them?

I don’t think you can lump all blogs together to answer that question. Like much of the web, there is a lot of garbage out there. I do think that the blogs with valuable information (politics, opinions, news, technology, world-views, library related) will be regarded highly and should be saved in some sort of archive for future generations to see. What will they think when they see all of our debates about Library 2.0? What other way will they be able to see what the people thought during the elections in 2008? So, yes, I do think some blogs should be saved in digital libraries and I do think they will provide a valuable resource for future generations studying culture and history. If nothing else it will give them a giggle.

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