Blogging seems to be a form of Internet viral networking

I believe that networking is more powerful than most people know, and this relatively new community of bloggers may allow thoughtful and articulate people reach a global audience — as well as discover and join a circle of like-minded people. While huge numbers of people do this as a hobby, there are many who see professional reasons to blog.

Since this blog is still an exploration, consider this article an interim field report. There are excellent references (links) included. (Click Continue for the rest of this report.)

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I have always been fascinated by people who seem to create their own luck and influence by networking. Most people think it is about the people they meet as they network. I argue that the power of networking is having the network itself work for you. I wrote about it some time ago in the article, Energize Your Network.

Your network exists because you talk to people, and then they talk to others about you. The real power of this process occurs during the latter part — when they talk about you. I know this can be frustrating because you don’t see it.

It’s up to you to fuel the process.

To understand why this works for you, you need to [discover] a fascinating fact about the way our society operates. The phrase, “six degrees of separation” has crept into the language. The concept is based on research demonstrating that, in the United States, no one is more than five acquaintances away from knowing anyone else. (“Six” is supposed to refer to the whole world.)

You may live in a city of a few million people and feel lost in the crowd. You are not. You’re probably only three or four referrals from knowing everyone

[When you network, other people will begin to talk about you behind your back.] …in conversations you cannot imagine, you’ll be discussed. It’s here that [networking has its power]. Because you’re now aware of this process, you’ll sense the significance of your response when someone casually asks you if you know about so-and-so and his project. Word-of-mouth information travels far and quickly; and it can have real impact.

The above is to make a case for networking. The following assumes that there is a philosophical connection between face-to-face networking and blogging.

One of the first signs that the Internet was forging new business relationships was Seth Godin’s book, Permission Marketing. He argued that effective selling on the Internet was not about shouting messages loudly to huge numbers of people (like TV, radio and print ads), but gently, one-on-one, earning the trust and even friendship of your potential clients. He was the VP of marketing at Yahoo!, and today he is a blogger. Frankly, I am delighted to see that people who wish to do business with me will have to earn my trust. BTW, he has some advice on increasing traffic for your blog.

Jakob Nielsen seems to understand how people really use the web. I enjoyed his commentary, Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes. He comments: Blogs are often too internally focused and ignore key usability issues, making it hard for new readers to understand the site and trust the author. There is lots of good reading at his site.

If you are ready to blog professionally, you will probably find yourself reading Build a Better Blog. I enjoyed this simple formula to bring traffic to your blog, quoting Tris Hussey, “Post, post, post; and link, link, link.”

If you are looking for advice for the professional blogger, you will quickly find the site of Darren Rowse. Be prepared to spend some time mining this resource.

It seems as if a successful blog, like a garden, requires tending. It needs to be compelling and readable by the people you care about. The material needs to be fresh and new (as well as timeless). If blogging were not fun or a truly creative exercise, it might be a lot of work.

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