DAVID B THOMAS

How do you find time to blog?

I’m at the Back to the Blog event at Duke, organized by Anton Zuiker and Cara Rousseau. One attendee just asked how to find time to blog, which is one of the most common questions I’ve been asked over the past five years. I have a number of standard responses: *Look for content you’re already creating, from white papers to long emails, and repurpose them. *Look at what you’re doing that isn’t working and stop doing it to free up more time. *A blog post doesn’t have to be a white paper; a short, interesting post or a link to another post your audience will find useful is enough. Yet I still do most of my blogging (the little I do these days) late at night. I have a job where I could easily justify blogging during the workday, but I don’t. I write after my wife and son go to bed (or sometimes before they wake up). I’ve always done my best creative work late at night, whether on this blog, my book or presentations for work. I wonder if that’s one of the reasons people feel they don’t have time to blog, because writing is a creative and […]

Enterprise content marketers are making a huge mistake with Facebook

A survey of Inc. 500 companies shows the first decline in corporate blogging since 2007. Many are switching their content efforts to Facebook. Big mistake, as Janet Meiners Thaeler points out in the post linked above. I agree with everything she says. And here’s another way to think about it; Facebook is a valuable channel, but it’s not the Internet. It’s a walled garden, as we’ve come to call it. If you put your content solely on Facebook, you’re saying, “I don’t want my content on the Web, just this one place that can only be found one way by one group of people.” (Even if there are 800 million of them.) As Janet suggests (and many of us have been advising companies for years), publish to your blog, then share the link in all your other networks. As long as people still search the Web, a company blog should be at the core of your content strategy.

What I want in a blogging platform

I’ve had a self-hosted WordPress blog at dbthomas.com for several years, because I wanted to have control over my content for the long haul, and because, frankly, I thought as someone working in social media, it imparts at least a little bit of geek cred. These days I find myself using Facebook more than anything, along with a new fascination with Pinterest and a lingering obsession with Instagram. I also find myself coming across a lot of excellent and interesting Tumblr blogs. In fact, when I designed this blog on the Thesis framework, I intentionally wanted it to have attributes of a Tumblr blog. I wanted to be able to post quick photos and thoughts, and share images and videos. I suppose I could do that, but I seldom do, except for the Daddyblog posts. It just occurred to me this morning what’s missing: When I go to a Tumblr blog or a Pinterest board or an Instagram photo, I see items that people have shared from other sources, and shared items from people in that network I haven’t yet discovered. Often that leads me to those places and those people, and I find a new source I want to […]

Making WordPress act like Posterous

I think Posterous is a great platform, and a really simple and flexible way to start (or reinvigorate) a blog. I started using it because it lets you post by email, and tell it where you want your text and photos to go. So if I take a picture of The Boy and want to put it on Facebook and Flickr, I email it to facebook+flickr@posterous.com. Posterous knows my email address and thus knows how to find my particular Posterous site. Here’s the only thing I don’t like: If I post a photo via Posterous to my (this) blog, the photo doesn’t live here, it lives at Posterous and links from here to there. Now I wish the Posterous folks a long and prosperous career, and from what I’ve seen (and the support I’ve gotten when asking questions) they deserve it. But if they go away, I don’t want my photos to go with them. Even if they don’t go away, I want control of my own photos. I’ve had a blog on Typepad since 2003 and the only reason I’m still paying the $8.95 a month is because all my images are there. I don’t want that to happen […]

This design will never be finished

I’ve mentioned before that The Mrs thinks I should consider medication to deal with my Shiny Object Syndrome and my obsession with the tools and techniques of sharing my various types of information online. She might be right. Sometimes it feels a bit overwhelming, then sometimes I think, “Hey, this is my hobby.” Relentless tinkering with one’s blog isn’t any more or less obsessive than building a ship in a bottle, is it? A few weeks ago I decided to buy the Thesis blog theme (apparently it’s actually a framework, but if you know what that means you probably already knew that). I liked the customization, but it felt a little like overkill because I had every intention of going with a spare, clean, minimal theme like Jeff’s blog. All of the blog designs I’ve bookmarked in the last six months have been a lot like that. This blog was, too. For about a day. Then I started messing with it. I’ve spent many a late-night hour in the past week, and all my non-dad-or-husband time this weekend, when I shot the photo for the header, designed the header, added the shiny metal background and figured out how to add […]

Blogging from my iPhone

Just got a new iPhone app called BlogPress that allows you not only to post to a blog and upload photos, but also attach and embed video. The photos and videos are embedded in the blog and sent to your preferred hosting service (Flickr, YouTube). I like that idea, because I’m getting more and more worried about having my content spread to the four corners of the Web. The whole point of reinvigorating this blog was to have a central hub that I controlled, where all the content resided. This is really just a test post that got out of hand.

Blogging irony

I decided to change the theme of this blog to the Thesis theme for WordPress, after hearing so many good things about it, and watching a demo. So far, I like it. It gives much more control over a lot of basic functions, and has a control panel front end for things that you would ordinarily have to do with .php or CSS or CSI Miami or blah blah blah I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’ve stayed up late a couple of nights working on the blog, and I still have a lot of things I want to do. I imported our Blogger blog (not sure if that looks or sounds sillier) that is mostly a stream of photos of The Boy, and I want to exclude that category of posts from the homepage, so that not everyone who comes here has to look at photos of the cutest child in the world. That sounds awful, but you know what I mean. Still figuring out how to make that happen. I just tried adding a piece of .php code that I found in a Thesis support forum using the “oh hell, I don’t know, maybe I’ll just stick […]

Refocusing on my blog and trying new tools

When I spent some time with Chris Brogan in December, we talked about blogs and sharing tools like Posterous, and the different ways people use them. Chris thinks people are diluting their web presences by posting in too many places. (You can watch him say this yourself.) “Home is where the web page is,” he summed up nicely. I had a blog on Typepad for many years. When I finally decided to move to this self-hosted WordPress blog you’re looking at, I realized I could import all my old posts, but all my photos were stuck. I looked into methods for bringing them over and found one small company that will do it for you, but admits it’s such a massive pain that they charge a lot, since they don’t really want to do it. (They even provide the step-by-step instructions, which run to about 50 steps.) I really like Posterous, its simple interface, the web-based tools that allow you to share pictures and videos quickly, and the ability to post by email to multiple places. But I’m afraid that if I get too tied in to Posterous, one day I might have the same issue that I had with […]

Developing your social media muscle

I wrote a lot of poetry in college. (Don’t worry, that was pre-web so I have no links to subject you to). When I was doing it regularly, thoughts would come to me in poetic terms, or a snippet of conversation would spur an idea. The more I wrote, the more that happened. My love of photography also began in college, and carried through to a job as a professional photographer for The Chapel Hill (N.C.) News (which nearly killed my love of photography, but that’s a different story). The more photos I took, the more I saw things in photographic terms. My eyes sought out angles and patterns and juxtapositions and I would mentally compose the photo before I ever brought the camera to my eye. The same principle holds true in social media. The more you participate, the easier it gets. I’ve been referring to it as “developing your social media muscle.” Blogging isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s downright difficult to come up with an idea worth sharing, find the time to write it, find a photo to illustrate the post and do all the little logistical things that go along with it. But you know what? The […]