Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.
When I wrote in Blogging Is About Writing on Problogger that readers will forgive writing mistakes if the blogger is passionate and knowledgeable about their subject matter, a lot of people stood up and applauded virtually. They loved the idea that you don’t have to write perfectly to blog, but it helps.
Is it necessary for every blog to be perfect and have a purpose? Honestly, like the quote above, you do not have to dance well, you just have jump in and dance.
It’s your blog. Do with it what you want. If it feels good, do it. Party hearty! Party on, Garth!
Must You Blog? Then Blog
I’m still in Israel as I write this post, and I’ve met a lot of old friends who listen to me talk about blogging and WordCamp Israel. After a few minutes, they lean forward and say, “I’m probably the most ignorant person in all of Israel. Forgive me. What is a blog?”
I explain that a blog is a website that isn’t a static billboard but a conversation on the web.
“Should I get one? Do I need one?”
All over the world are people who think they have to participate in the latest fad to keep up with the times. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. Maybe they want to get up and dance, but they don’t know how.
My question is: “What do you want to do with a blog?”
While a blog doesn’t have to have a purpose, and doesn’t have to be written with keyword-rich content and SEO grasping techniques, it does help, but only if you want an audience for your dance.
Joining the Dance Means Learning the Steps
On Shabbat, I was down on the beach of Tel Aviv watching the dancers that gather under the shade of the Sheraton Moriah Hotel. I loved watching the dancers move in a giant circle, their steps moving together with precision, mirroring their partners as they glided around the Tahyelet (boardwalk) to the music. For many years, dancing fans spend the day dancing on the beach while tourists and fans alike watch with delight.
I wish I knew the steps of even one dance so I could join in on the fun. Instead, like always, I stood by the sidelines and moved to the music with my own solo dance, from side to side, swaying with the folk songs, fox trots, and waltzes. I’d love to release my inhibitions and dance wildly around or within the circle, no practiced steps to confine my choreography.
Like my friends, they want to join the blog dance, but they don’t know the steps. They could just jump in, wildly swinging their arms around and hopping on alternating feet, but they’re not fans of watching someone flail around in public. They like watching people move in harmony, not discordance and chaos.
Can Anyone Dance?
Over and over during this visit and conference, I’ve been asked by interviewers, fellow bloggers, and non-bloggers if anyone can blog.
At first I was flippant but now I answer seriously. Anyone can blog, but like dancing, not everyone should blog.
Blog if you have something to say. Blog if you have something to contribute and share. Blog if you want to establish yourself as an expert in your field. Blog if you want your customers to learn more about your business and to invite feedback. Blog if you want to change the world. Heck, blog even if you can’t write but have the passion and incentive to share and communicate.
If you have nothing to say, nothing to add, and do not want the attention, don’t blog.
A friend of mine here in Israel has written in her diary since she was very young, sharing her thoughts with paper. The idea of sharing her thoughts, feelings, and opinion with the public terrifies her. Timidly, she asked me what I thought about her having a blog.
“If you want a blog, there will be two consequences. One, people will read your writing. Two, people might talk back. Paper doesn’t.”
She’s still stewing on that one. If you want to dance with others, you have to be ready to join the dance.
Dance With Friends First
At WordCamp Israel, many told me they wanted to blog in English, even though their English wasn’t good. Their reasons? First, it’s good practice to communicate in what is currently the global language of commerce. Two, if you want to compete with the global market, you should blog in English. Or so they think.
If your market is the world, blog to it. If your market is your neighborhood, and you have not the means to travel abroad at the drop of the hat and serve an international marketplace, then blog for your neighbors.
By blogging in English, Israeli bloggers are cutting themselves off from their fellow businesses and bloggers. Sure, many can read English, but how would someone reading their blog know they live around the corner and might answer their needs and solve their problem if they aren’t blogging in the language of the community? The blogger could be in England or Florida? That famous About Page on your blog might offer geographical information, but why not blog in a language that better serves your market.
Why not blog for your friends first? When you are learning the dance, it helps to practice with those who won’t laugh too hard at your awkward steps, as well as with those who want you to succeed and not fall. When your confidence builds, you can risk dancing in public.
When your market really expands internationally, then open up to other languages. Don’t dance the dance before the music is playing.
As for the first reason, improving their English, as you know, reading blogs written in poor English can be painful, but worth it if passion guides their intent. I adore reading blogs written by those living outside of my community, learning about their culture, their opinion on their world and mine, enjoying the window they open on their world through their blogs. But sometimes, it’s really tough to read their English.
The more we can read and understand the perspective of those around the globe, the smaller the world is and the more we find out we have more in common than different, and the better we can join in the global dance.
It always comes back to the dance, doesn’t it. If you want to join the blog dance, you first must learn the steps to the music. As you improve, dancing in public becomes easier, when your confidence in your steps means you step less often on other’s feet.
Begin by blogging in your language, a language in which you have confidence. Blog about what you know. Blog about what matters to you. Contribute. When you are ready to dance in another language, you will already know the steps, even though the tune changes.
Either way, if you want to start dancing, you have to join the dance in order to start learning.