Ho hum: famous web guru doesn’t quite get blogging.
I reckon Nielsen needs to go out and do a bit more homework before handing out advice. I get the distinct impression, for a start, that he thinks there are only two kinds of blog: personal journals written for your adoring family and/or best mates; or link-and-news-type blogs that wannabe Instapundit.
If he had done a bit of research, however, he might appreciate a few things:
1. There are more things in the blogosphere than are dreamt of in anyone’s philosophy.
2. Good bloggers do what feels right for them rather than following Commandments laid down by authority figures. They develop a distinctive style and voice. They write about what interests them. (They don’t expect every reader to find every post equally riveting.) And they have fun.
3. A key aspect of blogging is active participation by readers: discussions through comment threads, conversations between blogs, memes, trackbacks, feedback, interaction, all the rest of it. That is perhaps the most important difference between older forms of static web page and blogs, not the technical ease with which you can set up a weblog.
It’s also an extremely important part of building up readership, especially when you’re getting started: if people reading comments on another blog like what you say there, they will click through to read more. Then they link to your blog in their blog, put you in their blogroll, subscribe to your RSS feed and so on. (It’s all rather promiscuous, when you stop to think about it.) And you have to respect your own readers; respond to people when they come and talk to you; make connections. [And another thing that I almost forgot: always credit your sources. Thanks to Tony for the tip-off.]
But Nielsen seems blithely unaware of any of this: it seems that he’s still working with a model of Web Site Author on the one hand and Web Site Readers on the other, with little communication between the two (and certainly no communication between different readers!).
Blogging has become so successful that we’ll probably see a lot of people trying to cash in on the phenomenon in the near future by handing out ‘advice’, attempting to formulate Rules of Blogging, to force all this shocking untidiness into neat compartments and make bloggers behave the way the advice-givers think they ought to. But I suspect that hardly anyone will take any notice. Fortunately.