Why Blog? Why Bother? Why Care?


guest post

Today is Conversation Agent's fourth birthday. Happy birthday! They grow up so fast…

No need to send cake, but feel free to join me in posting a comment or sending Valeria an email letting her know you're out there.

See, every blog has true fans, active readers, and a large, silent majority. It's easy enough to know what the true fans and active readers think—but sometimes when you're busy publishing up a storm, you start to wonder what the silent majority thinks. This is true especially in the beginning, because you don't have a lot of true fans and active readers, and also because you're usually still finding your feet as a writer.

How can you get the silent majority to come out from under their shell? One theory says that you shouldn't—people read and respond the way they do for a good reason. Some people will happily read along for years without speaking up, and by not speaking up they're basically saying, “This is good; please keep doing it.”

Overall, I think you should give people what they want in the way they want it. That's why smart bloggers like Valeria offer RSS, an email subscription, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and so on. Choose your preferred dosage of Conversation Agent. (Other people will simply visit the home page of their favorite blog every day, something that initially struck me as odd, until I kept hearing about more and more people who do it.)

But I also think it's good to challenge your readers from time to time. Once in a while, it's OK to say, “Attention everyone! I do this for you, and I'd like to hear from you.” If you have a blog and have been struggling with feedback, try it sometime and see what happens. You just might get some people to crawl out of the shell, and you might learn something new.

But is there room for anyone else?

Over the past four years, Valeria has been one of the most prolific bloggers in the world, and probably the most prolific on the subject of conversation and community. Almost every day she has another thoughtful, comprehensive post—just look at some of these greatest hits. I read along with many of you and think, “How does she do it? Is there a twin sister behind the curtain who goes to the day job so Valeria can write this stuff every day?”

It's also easy to think… “Since established blogs like Conversation Agent have covered so much already, is there any space for me?” That's exactly what I thought as I surveyed the blogging world two-and-a-half years ago. I finally decided to go for it and start anyway. Surprise! People ended up caring.

But since I don't have all the answers either, other people look elsewhere, and other people will care about what you have to say. So I think Valeria would say, Yes! There is indeed space at the table. And in fact, encouraging conversation and new perspectives is one of the things that this blog does best.

What do you have to contribute?

And by the way, whether you're in the silent majority or not, stop by to say happy birthday to Conversation Agent. Four years of posts are also available for your consideration.


A true fan of the Conversation Agent, Chris Guillebeau travels the world and writes for a small army of remarkable people at chrisguillebeau.com.

[image of Fantastic Four picked by Conversation Agent: it takes a bit of each of them to get to four years of blogging]

0 responses to “Why Blog? Why Bother? Why Care?”

  1. Certainly a worthy blog that everyone should have in the feed reader. Of the four, I have been following for two years from tens of thousands of kilometers away. That’s to say how this blog has impacted globally. And it hurts nothing for me to say this on the 4th birthday of Valeria’s blog – Thank You – for your generosity of knowledge.

  2. Happy Birthday to Valeria, the site, and the community:-)
    I am smarter because of the work here (and not just Valeria’s, but the whole community).
    May the reach (and the rich conversations) continue to grow.

  3. Happy anniversary Valeria! For the past three years Conversation Agent is one of my daily reads. You are one of the few bloggers that has fresh, unique content every single day that makes me think or shares insights from someone I didn’t know (Love that you share your community with us all!).
    Here’s to another four years of you sharing your insights and intellect with us. Oh, and how about a book too?! 😉

  4. Happy birthday, and thank you! This blog is one of my faves because it comes from a fresh direction. I’m a fairly recent subscriber (kickin’ it old school by email), but plan to stick around for the long haul 🙂

  5. Congratulations and mazel tov, Valeria! Thank you for four years of education, entertainment, and enlightenment.
    I can’t wait to see what the next four years bring.
    At your service,

  6. So you think four years of blog means you should get a day off? 🙂 Kidding. Always enjoy your posts, learn from them and need to stop by more often. Although, sounds like you might be even busier than usual in the upcoming months if you take Beth up on that book.
    Happy birthday, CA. Thanks for all you do.

  7. Happy Birthday Valeria!
    I am probably one of those silent majority who read your blog everyday (via email subscription), though I do occasionally Tweet a post to my followers every now and again.
    I, too, am constantly amazed by the sheer quantity of material you manage to put out! I know how long it takes me to write a blog post so I’m amazed you have time for anything else!
    My fantastic four are yourself, David Meerman Scott, Jay Baer, and Richard Millington and, however much knowledge I gain over the years on this subject from you guys, I could never see myself being in a position to hold a candle to any one of you! But, what you guys do help me to do is help other people become one of the ‘Fantastic Four’ of their field. Whenever I have to explain why someone should be doing something a certain way, I can say “Valeria is one of the top bloggers on this subject and she says …”. You keep me, and therefore the companies I work for, at the top of our games. Keep up the good work!

  8. Happy Birthday to your site, Valeria!! What you have created here is meaningful and filled with such great information!
    Cheers to all the future holds for you!

  9. Happy happy blogaversary! Thanks for hosting me here today. Looking forward to seeing you in Philly next week, and looking forward to seeing what comes in Year #5 for ConversationAgent.com.
    A Raving Fan,
    Chris Guillebeau

  10. Happy birthday Valeria, you know I’ve always been a fan, even before you started!! I still am amazed that you do all this, and the passion you have for it is inspiring. I’m still trying to be brave enough to do my own blog 🙂
    Thank you again for following through on your convictions and bringing to our attention just how important communication is….

  11. Happy happy 4th Anniversary, Valeria! Your blog is a continued source of inspiration for me as well — in fact I just resubscribed via email (after having switched to Google Reader, which I keep up with only inconsistently; I realized I missed reading you)! I am looking forward to the coming year. 🙂

  12. Excellent post Chris and HAPPY B DAY Valeria’s blog! 🙂
    Thought often I am a silent majority as I told you months ago in our Third Tribe forum I think your blog is great I have been on your RSS for over a year now.
    Chris Valeria remember it is not the silent majority but the creaming majority in your head that has you do what you do.

  13. @Ed – I am so glad to hear from you. Thank you for reading for so long!
    @Mike – we were part of a special group, all starting around the same time or earlier and building relationships through conversations. Thank you for continuing to be a member of the community.
    @Adam – I’m so glad you joined the ranks of publishers. Your contributions in breadth and depth have been significant.
    @Anne – I have your scarf right here cheering me on on dry days, when inspiration is a bit slower to come by 😉
    @Laura – thank you for reading and for taking the time to let me know.
    @Alessandra – we’ll get you to write in English one day soon. Maybe even a video. Thank you for your support, and for coming out on what was probably the worst snow day during/after the holidays to meet me.
    @Beth – thank you for the continued encouragement and friendship, both of which I treasure. I’m so glad we met and that our projects and lives continue to intersect.
    @James – thank you for stopping by and for the cheering. I appreciate it.
    @Rosemary – I noticed your active involvement for which I am grateful. You would be surprised at the numbers of people who subscribe by email, it’s quite high.
    @Ryan – thank you again for the opportunity to talk about PR for your article. Keep up the good work.
    @Michael – thank you so much for your support and for the thoughtful eCard. Hope the new job is going splendidly.
    @Justin – the nerve! I know, I’m slacking 😉 I am taking Beth up on her suggestion. Stay tuned.
    @Jasper – I am so glad to meet you here. That’s good company you list me with, thank you! Glad the content is helpful to you. I’m working to publish even more stories and useful information that people can adapt to their business to advance the space using conversation to really dig a bit more into what works and what can use some help. I’m sure I can count on you to keep me honest.
    @Scott – thank you for stopping by.
    @Lance – thank you for the kudos. I’ll take them 😉
    @Chris – so looking forward to your evening next week. The review and recommendation is out tomorrow. Thank you for agreeing to write the post with everything else you have going on.
    @Terri – you are one of the most inspirational people I met in the last couple of years. Thank you for all you do and for being out there being you.
    @Glenn – yes, and tomorrow (Friday) you will learn just how much I challenge the status quo 😉
    @Armando – what a coincidence! Well, then a toast to both of us.
    @Shonali – glad to have you here every day. What counts is that you get value out of reading.
    @Christa – I have been kicking butt with posts lately, so you might want to take a tour of some recent posts 😉 I have many email subscribers who love getting the daily post.
    @Tom – I could have written 19 books in the same space. Amazing, isn’t it? 1,265 posts.
    @Darren – hope I won’t disappoint by leaving Third Tribe. Six months in and I logged in only a handful of times. It’s a great community, just not what *I* need at this time in my career/life. You are welcome here any time, of course. You have an infectious energy and positive outlook that can make any day a good day.

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