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Online friends post imageWhen we join Twitter, those who befriend us are labeled as “followers”. On Facebook, they’re “friends”.

With blogging, we often label fellow bloggers as “blogging buddies”.

But who are these people, really?

Today’s Lesson

In the comments of the The Cost Of Being Heard post Sara of A Sharing Connection said, in part,

One thing kind of bothers me about the subject of “real” friends and “online” friends I don’t see a great deal of difference, except I can’t see the online person. A friend is a friend. Friendship is about communication and sharing. So what if it’s not face-to-face?

Writing coach Davina of Shades of Crimson shared,

The only time when I feel funny talking to my offline friends about blogging is when I hear myself say, “My online friend so and so said…” It sounds like I have invisible friends, lol. …

In real life it’s easy to label someone we know. We’ll say, “my friend…”, or tag them with a descriptive title such as “my sister”, “my cousin” or “a co-worker.” and whomever we’re talking to, knows exactly who we’re talking about.

But what about the people we meet online? Who are they?

A friend? A follower? An online acquaintance? A fellow blogger? A blogging buddy?

Do we classify them differently because we’ve never met in person?

Are they an acquaintance or blogging buddy first, but after we’ve known them for a while, they earn the “friend” title?

Behind every blog, every Facebook post, and every tweet is a real person with real feelings. Real thoughts. Real emotions.

People just like us.

Although we can’t see them and may never meet them, via words, relationships form.

Are they less important than the relationships we have in the real world?

Maybe not.

Today’s Assignment

When talking to your real life friends about those whom you’ve met online, how do you describe them?

Do you think online and offline friendships/relationships can be equal?

Care to share?

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Do you remember when you first started blogging? Wordpress publish button image

Although I don’t think about it often, I still do.

I was scared to hit “publish” the first few times, and I worried because I kept switching my theme.

I didn’t know any of the blogging terms either.

Being self taught, I spent most of my non-writing time searching for help, but even when I found help, I usually didn’t understand what to do with it.

I was pretty naive.

Today’s Lesson

When I think back to when I first started blogging, I didn’t have too many expectations except for thinking I could make lots of some money by having a blog.

  • I wasted a lot of time signing up for affiliate networks and tweaking my Google AdSense ads.

  • I didn’t know that without thousands of visitors a day, making a decent income from a blog was out of the question. When I figured it out (that I needed traffic to make money), I wasted time trying to get more traffic, too. Instead, I should have been learning more about SEO (search engine optimization) and spending less time looking for an “easy way”.

  • I wanted comments. Little did I know I should have kicked the “If I build it, they will come” attitude and should have spent time visiting and commenting on other blogs.

  • Although I worried about changing my theme so often, I should have realized without a steady stream of visitors, it really didn’t matter.

  • I love numbers, so for me checking my statistics became a daily obsession. Instead of wasting time watching the numbers rise and fall, I should have spent time either writing and publishing or learning techniques which would take me closer to my goals.

  • Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook can be fun, but they can also be addicting. Before signing up, I should have asked myself if the benefits of participating in social networking will outweigh the investment of my time.

Truth be told, I wasted a lot of time on blogging activities I should have postponed until later or maybe not even got involved in, but that’s in the past.

What about you?

Today’s Assignment

Looking back, if you had to do it all over again, where would you have spent more time?

Where would you have spent less time?

Care to share?

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When we start blogging we often ask ourselves which way to go.

Should we set up a free blog? Or, bite the bullet, and pay for one?

Unfortunately we don’t know if we’ll enjoy blogging and may ask ourselves, “Would it be wise to put out the money for a blog?”

But on the other hand, if we don’t, might we have regrets?

It’s a tough call.

Today’s Lesson

As I was reading John’s Top 5 Crash and Burn Blogger Mistakes Which Keep You Poor by John Hoff of WP Blog Host, he answered this question perfectly. His response is:

A free blog is ok if: All you care about is your content. Free blogs are good if you want someone else to take care of all the security issues, upgrades, etc. If your only goal is to write and you don’t care much about making money and turning your blog into a business, a free blog is fine.

A free blog is not ok if: You want to turn your blog into a business; want full control of the design of your blog; your mind is telling you that you’ll upgrade to a self hosted blog one day down the road; etc.

When I started blogging, I researched what the big name bloggers were doing and noticed they had self hosted WordPress blogs.  I followed their lead and did the same.

That decision costs me just over $100 a year.

For me, I feel it was a wise choice, however, it’s may not be right for everyone.

What say you?

Today’s Assignment

Do you have a free or self hosted blog?

What was the deciding factor for you?

Any regrets?

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