I’ve noticed people on twitter asking how they could show their support for the ongoing NBI which no doubt you must have noticed by the amount of blogger advice currently being offered all around this colorful bazaar we call the blogosphere. Maybe you feel like adding another voice to the list of topics where bloggers share their personal experience and helpful tips – maybe you feel reluctant about this or dubious how to possibly contribute anything that hasn’t been written already. The reply tweets included a link to the NBI forums and how to sign up for becoming a sponsor. What if you’re not looking to sponsor though but support the cause in a different way?
I remember when I started blogging; I had been a reader of the blogosphere for some time before that which was partly an inspiration to open an MMO blog (not my first blog ever, but my first gaming blog). I remember reading some blogging advice at the time by Larìsa and Matticus among others and helpful as they were, I knew that in the end I had to find my own way of writing and doing things. I knew I needed to give myself a chance to experiment, to not heed any rules or famous do’s and don’ts and most of all to screw perfectionism. Truly. I don’t believe in guidelines much; I believe in authenticity, learning by doing and that any type of blog has its audience. The only mistake you can make (technical aspects aside) is to try and copy someone else. In general, the world would be a much better, happier place if people learned to compare less. That’s what some bloggers mean when they say “write for yourself”. And be patient.
I remember therefore how happy I was when my first posts received some reactions, be it another blogger stepping by to say hello or leaving a short comment. Every blogger starts out the same way, alone – so receiving comments is like an acknowledgment of your existence at first. They prove that your blog is getting attention and that there are readers, real breathing people, even if the big majority of them are silent. I will always remember my first post ever and the people commenting on it; and up to this day the comments we leave one another, the insightful discussions that spring from one blog to the next, the linkbacks and exchange are what makes blogging such a rewarding experience. Blogging is a social medium that thrives on more active interaction and social dynamics. As with all good things, establishing such channels and bonds takes some time but they are worth it.
This is why I try to make small welcome round-ups on MMO Gypsy every now and then; to put the spotlight on newcomers (newcomers to me) that caught my attention and in memory of how it feels to start off. There are more bloggers who regularly do this too, like Spinks, Tesh, Liore or of course Hugh from the MMO Melting Pot who does not only share linklove daily but features specific newbie blogger round-ups. When I have less time or don’t manage a list myself, I try leave a comment and /wave on blogs I spot for the first time. That’s no chore for me or ‘job’ – but then I am lucky in that I enjoy leaving comments (long ones too as some of you might know!) on other people’s blogs as much as I love to write my own articles. The two inspire each other.
And this is what you can do for the NBI too, without specifically signing up as a sponsor: visit newcomer blogs and leave your blogging neighbour a note, a warm welcome or heads-up! Have a look at the collective topic where they’re currently signed up (and where you can also find short blog descriptions usually). There are many different blog focuses and you will easily find a few that might correspond with your personal preferences – or maybe you like picking some at random and see where it takes you.
This is what Syp’s initiative is about, highlighting newcomers. Besides receiving tips, it’s a wonderful way for them to get some exposure and attention, to feel seen and part of a greater circle of real and approachable people (most of them anyway!). That’s where your support comes in, very directly at the roots of the idea. Hopefully, some of this will make a more lasting impact in the blogosphere, too – the month of May won’t last forever, but there will always be newbie bloggers around the block. By visiting them, commenting on an interesting point or including them in a round-up, you are actively contributing to what makes the blogosphere a vibrant and dynamic place to inhabit, full of interesting encounters and crossroads. All in only a few minutes.
This is not exclusive to older bloggers, by the way: whether you feel like a freshman or not, visit your next or favorite blogs, let them know you exist (don’t be shy!) or link to articles you enjoyed reading. Before you know it, attention and feedback will find you – what you send out will find its way back to you and more (and in different ways than you might think).