Adrian Warnock, whom I assume most of you have heard of, recently did an interview of sorts with me. We spent an hour or so on MSN Messenger discussing blogging and the blogosphere. It was an interesting chat, though someone restricted by the medium – instant messaging has much of the spontaneity of a face-to-face discussion, but requires a lot of typing which tends to slow things down.
Here are a few excerpts from the conversation:
Adrian: How did you get into this blogging thing? And how did your blog come to be so popular? Did you have any particular strategy that you were following in the early days?
Tim: I really just fell into this blogging thing. I began challies.com as a web site to provide family updates for my parents who had moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Every now and then I would put a little article on the site just to share it with them. At some point Google picked up these pages and people began to read them. A few years ago I decided to make the site into more of a blog, even though I hadn’t ever heard the word “blog.”
So to be honest I had no strategy. I don’t know that I’ve ever really done much to publicize the site. At the beginning I suppose I would try to find well-trafficked sites and post comments, but that didn’t seem to work. So I just dedicated myself to writing what I felt was quality content.
There were a couple of topics that I feel drove quite a few people to the site. I wrote an in-depth study of “The Purpose Driven Life” and several articles about “The Passion of the Christ.” These seemed to resonate with conservative Christians. So I suppose these were topics that helped make the site popular.
Adrian: Just so long as you dont expect all of us to be quite so disciplined! Going back to group blogs, some people think that they are the future of the blogosphere- I guess by the fact that neither you nor I have thrown in the towel we might have different views, right? I think that actually, a group blog can often loose that very intensity of personal reaction that I love about a blog like yours. I come to your blog to read YOUR views, not those of somebody else
Tim: I have also heard that group blogs are the future of blogging. I would tend to disagree. I do think there are some group blogs that are successful, but these seem to be among the minority of blogs. Again we return to the personal connection between the reader and writer. That is easier to form and maintain when there is only one author. Blogging is a perfect postmodern activity. It is a subjective pursuit. A person can blog as he sees fit and still be considered a blogger.
Adrian: What are good conservatives like us doing using such a postmodern activity? I can think of some exceptionally good group blogs though, and the ones I like are ones where the writers have a genuine connection between themselves.
Tim: Precisely. The Together for the Gospel blog is a great example. Anyone who cares to can eavesdrop on the relationship of four men many of us much admire. They have a strong bond already and have chosen to take that relationship to a blogging setting. I think they will do well.
Anyways, it will not be the most exciting few minutes of your week, but if you’ve got nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon, why not give it a read.