Cross Pollination


This blogosphere we inhabit is vast.  It’s made up of thousands upon thousands of active blogs, all with a different story and message to share, and I’m just talking about writer blogs.  If you’re like me, you spent the first six months just trying to figure out how everything worked and learning that IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME doesn’t apply here.  Once you learned that, then you went about the task of developing your own niche.

As big as the blogosphere is, it’s impossible to maintain meaningful connections with everyone (unless you’re Alex).  So what ends up happening is that we gravitate to blogs that we learn the most from, that we really “get”, that are on a similar path, that resonate for us, that brighten our day, or otherwise fits into some definition that draws us back time and time again.  What ends up happening is that we form these pseudo-cliques, kind of like in high school – except without the finger pointing, back-biting, gossiping, and exclusionism.  Unlike high school cliques, here they’re formed out of necessity, not choice.  Another differentiator is that we are constantly looking for ways to expand our reach in the blogosphere, diversify our exposure, and spread our influence.  To do this we sometimes hitch a ride on a bee.

The bee I’m referring to are the different mechanisms we use to get to know other bloggers.  Blogfests, Blog Hops, Blog Awards, A to Z Challenge, Book Tours, Guest Posts, are just a few.  Writer conferences take it to a whole other level. They each have a unique function and objective, but the underlying purpose of them all is to bring bloggers closer together and help us find one another.  The benefits you’ll see are directly proportional to the number of events and amount of effort put into each.  Even still, that’s only half the battle. 

Once you’ve made new connections via a “bee”, you still need to cultivate those relationships.  Landing a new follower should never be considered simply a notch on the belt.  Visit and comment on their blogs regularly, then find out who they frequent and follow them there.  They should be doing the same with you.  As often as you can tout their achievements, discuss their books, or mention their feats.  Help make it so that the ripples of success rattle the entire blogosphere.

Yes, I realize all of this requires energy and devotion in order for it to blossom the way it should, but that’s what creating a brand – an on-line presence – is all about.  However, what if you’re comfortable with this cozy little spot you’ve carved out for yourself, with just a handful of active followers?  Is that so bad?  Absolutely not!  Every blogger needs to determine for themselves just how involved their willing to get, or what works with their already congested schedules.  All I’m trying to do is point out this nifty little reproduction system I discovered that can help enhance your on-line presence, should you desire to do so.

A little bee told me.  :)

46 comments

  1. Reproduction system...I like that term, and your analogy to new connections via a "bee." I wish I could hitch a ride with all those who really network well. I always wanted lots of followers...but now that my list is growing, it is a challenge commenting back.

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  2. Excellent break down of blogging. I was reading blogs for quite a while before I started my own. I wish I had more time to devote to it but then I wouldn't have any writing time.

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  3. Excellent post! I get frustrated with bloggers who complain about how much it takes to run a successful blog, but like everything else, it needs a lot of work. You can't just cut corners and hope people will like you without putting in any effort.

    It IS hard, and it IS time consuming, but I get a buzz (see what I did there? :p) out of it! :D

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  4. Agreed! I didn't have a clue what I was doing when I first started. Now I'm much more comfortable :) Love the analogy of cliques without the mean - so true.

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  5. Blogging is a lot of work, but it's so worth it! I'm amazed by how much has changed for me since 2008, when I first started without a clue as to how to share my life and my writing with complete strangers :D Now it feels more like a conversation with friends.

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  6. Really like this description of blogging!

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  7. I suppose forging those meaningful friendships is like the honey that rewards the effort spent. :) It's a neverending process though. Bees work hard and so should we!

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  8. I love the whole BUILD IT THEY WILL COME comment.

    It so true. We have to work at it but it's worth it. I never thought I would ever be a blogor but once I found my footing and niche, I love it!

    Great post!

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  9. And even for Alex, it's a challenge!
    Relationships and support are so important here.

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  10. Excellent and spot on, my friend!

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  11. I like the metaphor here.
    Maintaining a successful blog is a lot of work -- and it has to be about building relationships. Yes, some will grow into friendships and others will remain acquaintanceships and that's just fine.

    I've seen a few blogs fail, and it's always because the blogger didn't want to buzz on over to anybody else's blog to play. He/She wrote stuff and expected people to just show up and read.

    When asked advice on maintaining a blog, I always talk about how important it is to interact with other bloggers. That advice is followed about as often as my advice to people who ask how to get a book published. (referring back to your prior post!)

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  12. Great post. I enjoyed your break down of blogging.
    I'd been reading blogs long before I started my own.
    For a while I blogged every day but I didn't end up with any writing time.
    I read an agent's blog this week and she recommended that an unpublished writer should be aiming for a time ratio of 90% improving your craft and writing to 10% building a platform etc.
    It is a good job I learned a lot by blogging.

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  13. Bees are good. They're hard workers too. And using them as a metaphor for the blogging community is excellent. Certainly I've been pollinated by a few visiting bees myself, for which I'm extremely grateful. I hope, in some small way, I can pass it on.

    But NOBODY is as good as Alex!

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  14. I never knew making connections in the blogosphere could sound so dirty. Or maybe that's just my immature mind at work. ;)

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  15. I think it's fairly easy to get enough friends if you're willing to invest the time back into them - the hard part is in developing fans, people who read your blog and find you interesting enough to follow even if you don't follow them back. I think that level is a lot easier to reach once you've actually published something, but what do I know, since I'm not published yet :)

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  16. Great points - it's nice to have a mix of familiar go-to blogs, and some newbies so that we're constantly learning and meeting new folks.

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  17. This is great! Yes, Alex is the king of blogging. You're pretty awesome, too.

    I like the little community I have going right now. Still trying to find my voice, so it works for me.

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  18. Nice analogy. Yes, it does require some give and take to bloom. :)

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  19. Nice analogy. Yes, it does require some give and take to bloom. :)

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  20. Can't I just be the Queen Bee? I didn't think so. It is hard work and it is a lot of time. In the nonfiction world, platform is probably more important than with fiction. I'm trying to find my people, but I have a difficult blog. Some love it and some don't even want to contemplate what I talk about as a reality. Death is a tough sell.

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  21. This is such a great post, because it's so true. I've met so many people on blogs. Some of them stay blog relationships. Some of them develop into CP relationships. Some go further and I have phone numbers. It's all just a matter of clicking with a person or post, you know?

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  22. This is so true! I'm at the end of my first 6 months so now I am looking for my niche.

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  23. It is really difficult. I've been blogging for near on three years now and I'm still finding it hard to keep and make new connections without becoming too drained. Great post.

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  24. Great post. I think it's important to find balance.

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  25. Interesting way of putting it. It isn't easy to maintain the relationships. It does take WORK. Some days I'm there, others not so much.

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  26. Absolutely, D-Bone! Blogging is much more than just posting stuff on my blog. There is the cross-pollination, too! There are so many other writers I want to support on THEIR blogs too.

    But I don't think of it as work -- I enjoy it. My problem always boils down to lack of time. To write, edit, post and maintain my blog, read and comment on other blogs I follow -- these take a lot of time, which is only available from my limited amount of "free" time. I also have a job, a family, and other real-life obligations to take care of.

    Ahh, to only have more hours in each day, and days aplenty with which to play...

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  27. I always chuckle when you mention "except Alex." lol

    So true so true. I couldn't agree more, and EVERY blogger deserves the same amount of attention, even if it' just a quick comment to let them know you're aware they exist. I've found some of the best blogging buddies that way and they really value the reciprocity. I mean it's only logical--do unto others, right? Unfortunately, many do not reciprocate and in a way that's ok, cuz it just helps narrow down who's worth visiting anyway. We can't be everywhere at once, so I tend to stick with ones who are genuine. :)

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  28. Great post, DL! I'm still trying to find my limit with maintaining meaningful connections--sometimes life just gets to busy and I don't have time to visit all the blogs I'd like. I don't know how Alex does it!

    Allison (Geek Banter)

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  29. A very wise analysis. And I love the bee analogy. :)

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  30. To be completely honest, just reading this post made me tired. I have to be careful-- social networking can suck so much time and then I find myself not writing. Which is kind of stupid. It's so hard to find a balance!

    But I agree with all your points. What you've described is networking at its best.

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  31. Well-put! Wish I had more time to devote to blogging and commenting~ I really enjoy finding out about new writers on the same journey as me :)

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  32. I know what you mean, but there's this point in blogging (around 300) follows where it's just impossible to get to everyone often.

    Especially when we have to still write, work and have lives.

    Since your blog is even bigger than mine, how do you do it? Because I'd love to be better at this.

    :-)

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  33. It requires a lot of energy. I've been blogging so long, I've had a lot of blogging friends come and go. And it's easy to get burned out after a while. I eased back for a while just to regroup.

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  34. The birds and the bees and the monkeys in the trees!

    Well said.
    We can't all be Alex but we can try to do our share to, well, share!

    Thanks, DL!
    Heather

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  35. DL well said. @Em-Musings, that is the trickiest part. I'd be scared of 10,000 followers

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  36. And you've done a very good job of growing your own sweet-smelling site. Kudos!

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  37. Agreed! It is tough to keep up with all the people though. I think I definitely tend to spend most of my time on the same blogs (and tweeting to and about the same people), but I do think it's important to reach out and make new friends. You do a great job!

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  38. I respond to every comment on my blog and visit my the blogs of the people who comment. I've met so many great people this way. I think if you want to make genuine connections, it's the best way to do it.

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  39. What a hard concept to put on "paper," DL! I loved this. It is kind of like high school, without all the back biting. (Thank goodness!)

    We do have our little cliques, but I know that I, for one, am always happy to expand my little circle of people. I always respond a comment with a comment, and I really respect bloggers that do the same. I'm mainly here for the support, the hopeful online platform that I'll need for future books, and the friendships that make me smile ;)

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  40. Aloha DL,

    I wanted to stop by and say thanks for signing up for our upcoming "What If?" Blogfest and look what I bumped into.. a Bee :)

    Cheers for the post - and for reminding me that what I'm doing is worth it :)

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  41. The blog circles I move in keep morphing. The blogs I religiously followed at the start are ones that I drop by on occassionally - or sometimes the blogger has stopped blogging.

    I try so hard to keep those connections but (to my shame) I'm quite bad at keeping up real-life ones too. I need to practise more!

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  42. honey of an analogy =)
    couldnt resist!

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  43. "unless you're Alex" <---- Hahahaha! So true!

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  44. Have you noticed the more involved you get, the more involved you get.

    Back in high school I was never much for socializing. I had my quiet little nicht and it suited me just fine. In here though, I want to be out there, doing, participating, meeting new people. Yes, it takes a lot of energy, and sometimes I have to pull back to write, but it is a comfort to share my experiences with so many like minded people.

    And, it has helped me be more confident and successful in other areas of my life. An overall good experience, in my opinion.

    ......dhole

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  45. I think it was a lot easier when I wasn't working to keep up. Now I am working a few days a week and trying to contribute at least 2 hrs a day to writing. I have several postings pre written and scheduled (TG) but have gotten behind in commenting.
    I hope you don't mind that I added a link to this posting to my blogging tips page.

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  46. You got this right. It took me a month or so when I first started blogging to figure out what was going on and after nearly 3 years of blogging I'm still learning. Busy as a bee--that's what I've been and what it takes to build and maintain community. Time consuming? Yes.


    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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