Starting Out Blogging


A good blogging buddy (and partner in crime) – Hajra Khatoon – and I recently started a 3 month blogging challenge. The aim of our challenge was to gather together an intimate group of personal bloggers to help shine the focus on the awesome-ness of personal bloggers for we felt that they weren’t getting the attention they deserved. We decided to call the group ‘Personal Bloggers Are Us (#PBAU)’ after struggling to come up with a name for it (finding a Twitter hash tag that hasn’t been used is really hard!). Just 2 weeks into the challenge, our expectations have already been exceeded.

This week we posed a challenge to the 24 participants:

‘Share with the PBAU group your FIRST EVER blog post’. 

We thought it would be interesting for every one to see how they started out blogging and how everyone had ‘developed’ in their blogging life – be it a short or long one.

In light of that, here is the first ever blog post of mine on this blog – Beginnings, published on 26 September 2010.

And here is my first EVER blog post, of which I wrote for an online community called Emergen (of which I’m now the Blogging Coordinator for), published 9 June 2010:

Learning From Past Mistakes

We can all learn from the ‘leaders’ we happen to come across throughout our lives, be it in politics, our families, work, university, church, etc.

Whether it be from the good they do, or the mistakes they make, some valuable insights can be picked up by merely observing and taking note. These things we observe can then be used to help ourselves grow as future leaders, and succeed in being the best we can be.

I’ve pondered my own experiences lately, and here are some tips that I’ve picked up over the years which may be useful to you are:

  1. Listen…and acknowledge that you have heard. Clear up any misinterpretations right then and there. It also makes people take note that you understood (you were listening!);
  2. Lack of communication can destroy a team and derail a project. It’s not brain science. Communication is key – and it needs to be clear! Less room for those pesky rumours and conspiracy theories then, or the good old ‘he said, she said’ scenario. In a day an age with phones, email, and all the gadgets, there really is no excuse (although face to face is best!);
  3. Pushing people till they break can get the best out of people, but take heed – it can also run people into the ground, and lead to stress, burn out, sick leave and resignations. When I started out in the workforce I didn’t know what I had in me until I was pushed, and when I discovered what I could do I was amazed! But I’ve also seen the other side of the scenario with too many colleagues, myself included, suffering from exhaustion. A sense of balance is good…
  4. A little bit of praise goes a long way. Even if it’s for a small accomplishment – everyone has to start somewhere, and sometimes a kind word and boost to the confidence is all someone needs;
  5. Don’t reallocate tasks without first communicating to the relevant parties about ‘why’. Did you know that taking work off of someone and giving it to someone else with no explanation can be considered as bullying – situation specific of course. If you ever need to re-delegate, just take a second and think ‘How would I feel if I was in X persons shoes.’ Sometimes there are time constraints, but there is email, there are phones…how you manage this situation could save a whole lot of heartache, gossip and dissatisfaction in the long run;
  6. Pitting people against each other does not work. Seen it time and time again, and in the end it always ends badly;
  7. Stay true to yourself…(now that’s not a quote from Marcia from Australian Idol ok!). We all encounter this at some stage in our lives – faced with being told to do something that just doesn’t feel right. Go with your gut. If you don’t agree with something, challenge it! Don’t just go with the pack. In the end you need to live with yourself. Sometimes you might feel that it backfires…but any good friend, colleague or organisation should be open to suggestions. If they aren’t, then you really need to consider whether their values match your own – and whether you belong in that situation;
  8. Don’t always provide the answers…a bit of guidance and encouragement to think outside the box and come up with a solution goes a long way;
  9. You aren’t always right. There’s nothing wrong with that – no one is infallible;
  10. Delegation is important. Don’t do everything yourself, even though at times you think you are the only one who can do it. How often I have been in this place!. Others need to learn what you do, and you need learn to let go. It also helps as a backup plan (leaders need to take time out and go on leave every now and then too!);
  11. Say thankyou.

And remember –

The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humour, but without folly.

 Jim Rohn

Note: To check out the amazing posts from the Personal Bloggers Are Us crew, search #PBAU on Twitter, and enjoy : )


Blogging ‘Etiquette’

I’ve been blogging for about 10 months – how the time flies! I think back to when I started and I had no clue whatsoever. I thought blogging was as simple as stringing some words together and clicking ‘publish’. Little did I know that there is such a thing as ‘blogging etiquette’.

Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way:

1. Proofread your post before publishing – not once but twice (at least)! 

2. Check your spelling, grammar and punctuation;

3. Check your formatting, especially when pasting contents from somewhere else: line spacing, font type and size, letter spacing, etc, can go array;

4. Reconsider the length of your sentences, and the post: at times so much more can be said using less words;

5. Watch your language;

6. Don’t copy someone else’s content – acknowledge your sources;

7. Think about your subject matter and the relevance to the forum;

8. Show some TLC – Tweet, Like and Comment other bloggers posts!

9. Remember that your posts AND comments contribute to your personal brand;

10. Be respectful to other bloggers and commenters;

11. Remain truthful to yourself and your integrity;

12. Engage your readers;

13. If you are going to ‘have a rant’ about something, try breathing before publishing your post by saving and revisiting it when you have cooled down – it’s amazing what a difference it makes.

Do you have any other tips on ‘blogging etiquette’?

Remember that blogging is a journey on which we all learn from each other.

What advise would you give new bloggers?

Computer keyboard, view from down

Image via Wikipedia

This is a blatant request for information so that I can use the (hopeful) variety of responses in some tools I am putting together to help young bloggers in Australia.

In case you don’t know, I’m the Blogging Coordinator for Emergen is a collaborative community based in Australia aimed at activating emerging young leaders. I got involved with the community mid-last year after posting my first ever blog post on the site. Since then I’ve gone on to start my own blog (this one), have connected with so many wonderful bloggers throughout the world, have started running Blogging for a Cause events, have participated in creating an e-book (soon to be released), and have started putting together some educational tools and training materials as part of my role as the Blogging Coordinator – of which I ‘ve been doing for a few months. It has been a challenging, inspiring, exciting and scary time…and has opened my mind so that I actually have a wealth of ideas – just not enough hours in the day!

So – what I’m asking is this:

What advise would you give to person starting out on their blogging journey? (I’ll ‘quote’ you if I use your words of wisdom!).

And in case you are wondering why I am asking you, it’s because you were all in this place once…because I find so many of you inspiring, and I’d love to use the power of some of your words to in turn help the community of young ones that I want to help.

Your help is greatly appreciated!