How I Blog: Alan Baird

Filed as Uncategorized on May 26, 2006 2:13 am

This is the fifth post in our “How I Blog” series. To read the rest, visit the archives. Interested in participating? Drop us a note about ‘How I Blog’ along with a photo or yourself or your blogging space at tips [at] blogmedia [dot] biz.

Alan Baird, Online Editor, Blogger

Alan Baird

I used to blog at work during my lunch hours, which pissed off my employer and got me canned. Now I get paid for blogging on the job, and wonder what to do with all these free lunch hours.

When I created The Desert Quidnunc for Palm Springs Life magazine, the blog was anchored with a bunch of series: historical plaques, public artworks, celebrity gravesites. But now it’s branching off into more interviews: the country’s first black/gay mayor, the leader of America’s second-richest Indian tribe, the guys who stand on corners and twirl arrow-signs.

In the early days, I baited the alpha bloggers every now and then, to attract new visitors into the site, but our traffic stats seem to have reached a critical mass and are now moving up on their own. I have no idea why.

Being a blogger-for-hire is enormously different than posting a personal blog. It’s important to remain sensitive to possible copyright and libel issues, while keeping an overall focus on the agreed-upon subject matter. But I think a professional blogger needs to be eclectic, too – stitching a blog together with individual postings is much like weaving a vivid piece of Kente cloth with different threads… the finished product can be pretty boring when there’s too much of one color.

I was lucky enough to design and teach a blogging course for the University of California, but I really feel the only way of becoming a decent blogger is to experiment with different styles, to see what works for you. I began manually programming an online journal in 1996… before the term “blog” was coined, and long before automatic blogging software was invented. So I guess that means these last ten years of wasting time with blogs — I mean, honing my skills to maximize opportunities—are finally starting to pay off.

Ten years. Holy crap, I’ve been experimenting for a long time.

Maybe one of these days, I’ll get it right.

Alan Baird is the online editor for Palm Springs Life Magazine, along with many other things. Catch his blog at The Desert Quidnunc

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  1. By Sheila Scarborough posted on May 26, 2006 at 7:51 am
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    Thanks, Alan, I really enjoyed surfing through your blog. I’ve heard great things about Palm Springs and hope to visit soon. Hope your Budapest trip went well (what a cool city.)

  2. By Alan C. Baird posted on May 27, 2006 at 2:25 pm
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    Thanks, Sheila! Drop me an e when your travel plans firm up – PS has one of the finest coffee houses in the world. Anikó and I are just touching base with the Hungarian branch of the family, but we always have a good time in this cosmopolitan city. I’ll blog about it on TDQ when we return next week.

  3. By Alan C. Baird posted on May 27, 2006 at 2:26 pm
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    Thanks, Sheila! Drop me an e when your travel plans firm up – PS has one of the finest coffee houses in the world. Anikó and I are just touching base with the Hungarian branch of the family, but we always have a good time in this cosmopolitan city. I’ll blog about it on TDQ when we return next week.