Twee studenten aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen doen onderzoek naar de populariteit van blogs, i.v.m. met de studie Business & ICT. Ze stelden mij een paar vragen – in het Engels – die ik graag voor hun wilde beantwoorden.
How do you come to know about blogs? I was working at a multimedia-company called Madocke in the year 2000 and that’s when Blogger started. I found out about blogs and started to read them. Most of them in english.
What is your motivation for starting a blog? I am a creator and I want to express myself. A blog is the best publishing medium. I can create something and show it to everyone within seconds.
Who are you targeting with your blog? All kinds of people. And hopefully also people who can use my expertise professionally.
Do you find blogging to be a rewarding experience? If so, in what way? Very much so. I found out about very interesting people and created works trough blogs and I am being asked for work because of it. I’m a professional blogger. I am making a living out of it.
Have you had a blog before the current blog? Yes, a couple ones. I am still blogging on other blogs as well. At the moment the most active ones are melodiefabriek.nl, www.hofstijl.nl and offline070.com.
What is your reason for switching to the current blog? I had a blog under a nickname which was not good when I started my own company early 2003, so I decided to stop it and start melodiefabriek.nl. That nickname-blog was extreme popular. Started in 2001. In 2005 I started blogging in Dutch for the first time under marcoraaphorst.nl I combined it with melodiefabriek.nl because Google translate got easier to use on a blog and maintaining two personal blogs was too much of a hassle.
How long have you had the current blog? Since April 2003.
How often do you update your blog? Do you update on a cyclical pattern or as and when it suits you? Depends. Mostly daily, at least few times a week, sometimes few times a day.
On average, how many people visit your blog on a (daily, weekly, or monthly) basis? Do you detect a spike in visits whenever you update your blog or are visits evenly spread out over time? On normal days it would be 200 visitors or higher. But I also had like 3500 visitors a day when I wrote about something extremely popular.
Can you identify defining characteristics of people who often visit your blog? These people are interested in sound and music, interested in me and my way of thinking. These people are open and don’t believe too much in restrictions. Open source and open content minded. But these people leave comments. Most people don’t and I don’t know who they are. They are the ‘lurkers’, the complete strangers only consuming my blog.
Why do you think that your blog is so popular? Can you give examples of blog topics that you think truly connect with people who visit your blogs? I am very passionate and very outspoken. Very open. I am personal and people are able to talk to be and give me feedback on my stuff in all openness. And I was one of the first to publish his music as mp3 on the internet (since 2001). I was one of the first to adopt Creative Commons and openness. Now all people are talking about sharing and openness. I have lots of experience in the sound and music world and have always worked with other great professionals. I strive for high quality. I hate stuf made without love. I can of course train or coach people who are lacking that expertise, but for my own work I only want to work with the best. I love my life and find it so interesting to share it. Anyone can love life. It’s so easy. It’s just ’there’.
Do you have specific strategies in mind to attract visitors to your blog? If so, can you describe your strategies and give examples of how these strategies are implemented? (Please also answer below questions if you have not answered.)
a. Can you elaborate on your strategies (e.g., content, theme, time to update, advertising, and others)? My blog is mainly focussed on my work as a composer and sound designer. But I also write about personal stuff, fun and art in general.
b. How do technological features on your blog aid in implementing your strategies? Give examples whenever feasible. I always try to make it as easy as possible for people to hear my music and read my blog. I am using WordPress blogging software since 2005 and am very much experienced with CSS and PHP tweaking. Main focus for me: readability and usability.
c. Have you leverage on other technologies to supplement your blog in attracting visitors (e.g., Twitter)? Yes, I use Twitter. Since 2007. The thing is: you should be active online. People should simple know where they can find you and you should be where your main audience is.
To what extent do you think that visitors of your blog also subscribe to your opinions and suggestions? Can you think of cases in which this is demonstrated? My opinions about openness, open content and open source, are picked up by people working in that same area; Creative Commons Nederlands, Bits of Freedom, XS4ALL etc. I am an opinionated person in the new, what I call, Share Alike World. I am the first one who did a radio documentary under a open Creative Commons license for Dutch ‘Publieke Omroep’ and also the first one to do that for television. I got that gig because I blogged about my work and Creative Commons.
Have you noticed or heard of cases where your visitors changed their opinions or behaviors because of your blog? Can you give examples? I am also active on Flickr. I have a popular group for Den Haag called ‘Haags Bakkie’. Some of the photographers are using Creative Commons now because of me. I turned many people into using Creative Commons because of my blog. I turned many into buying the music software of Propellerhead Reason because I was one of the first ones to blog about it since 2001. And I got a payed gig out of it as sound designer in 2004 because of this.
Does it come as a surprise to you that your blog may have the ability to influence others? If so, under what circumstances do you think such abilities would come in useful? If not, what would you to hope to achieve with such abilities? I find it such a fantastic period in time. I loved it when the music industry started to collapse (change!) . A lot of people where scared, I enjoy the ride. I love to create and publish. I love Do It Yourself. I have a very interesting life. I can be all sorts of things. I enjoy diversity. I am not boring. If things get boring, I change things. Don’t know if that’s interesting, but for me that totally works somehow, here, now, at this moment :)