Before you begin blogging on your own, you might want to spend some time investigating the communities in which you think you will possibly want to participate. You can also use this pre-blogging time to get a feel for the types of things people write about and how they go about maintaining a connection with their readers. For example, do you see bloggers allowing comments on all their posts or do they disallow comments for very personal posts? Do bloggers refer to people they know in real life by using pseudonyms or real names? Before you begin to blog, the time you spend looking around can help shape the blog you eventually build.
Finding a Community
It's simple to find a blogging community (or two, or three) in which you want to participate because everyone has an interest in something. Perhaps you are particularly passionate about technology, or you enjoy particular television shows, or you like to knit, or you work in higher education, or you're a new parentregardless of your interests, you will find people who share them. So, where to start?
After you have identified topics or groups of people of interest to you, a starting point for discovering blogs is the old standby: the Yahoo! directory. The Yahoo! category found at http://dir.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/Internet/World_Wide_Web/Weblogs/Directories/ contains a listing of numerous blog directories.
Two of the most popular entries in this Yahoo! category are the Blogwise and Technorati websites, described next:
After using directory listings and search engines to find blogs of interest to you, you will quickly find that you can use the links within these blogs to find even more sites that you might enjoy. It is very common for bloggers to include blogrolls (lists of links to similar-themed blogs) blogs maintained by friends and colleagues, or simply other sites that the blogger frequently reads. You'll learn about maintaining your own blogroll in 42 Using Blogrolls.
Making Friends and Influencing People
After you've found a blog that appeals to you, the next step is to venture out into it. You can be a silent readeralso called a lurkeror you can jump right into the conversation. It all depends on your own personality.
The term lurker is not at all pejorative. It simply means you're reading blog content and following the conversation going on in the comments section of the post, but you don't participate often (if at all). I lurk on many blogs. Sometimes it's because I don't have anything to add to the conversationsometimes it's because I know that Jane SuperCool A-List Blogger doesn't care one whit for what I have to say. The point is this: Lurking isn't bad. In fact, it's a recommended means of entry into a new community.
Think of the Blogosphere as one big party. What happens when a stranger enters the room and loudly begins conversing with anyone who will listen? Typically, people will start slinking away, regardless of whether Loud Person has something interesting to discuss. But if a calm, quiet person sidles up to a conversation, listens for a bit, and then interjects some insightful commentary, voila! New friends are made.