I have been at this blogging business for three years now and I learn something new every day. Susanne and Seth have joined me as regular contributors to The Next Phase and topics on which we write range far and wide.
One thing remains consistent, though. We publish a post and send it out into the world with no idea of who may read it, whether it will be popular or controversial, how many page views it will receive or if folks will comment on it. The Next Phase Blog isn’t the Huffington Post so it doesn’t get millions of page views but it is doing okay and our readership goes up every year. Something must be working because our blogger validation has been increasing lately.
Blogger Validation: Readers Reaching Out
Because we get visibility by promoting the posts on social media, we sometimes receive comments on Facebook or LinkedIn that never make it to the blog itself. But every once in a while someone reaches out to us with more than a comment. They may be seeking more information, asking for permission, or letting us know that a post one of us wrote has had an impact.
- A woman in New Zealand, who is writing a book on “Art and the Rhinoceros” read Boston’s Bronze Rhinos and decided to include Katherine Lane Weems in her work. But she needed higher-resolution photos. So Seth and I went on a rhino safari in Boston and Cambridge (a phrase I never thought I would type) and sent her what she needed.
- A manager at Boston’s Grill 23 & Bar wrote because she wanted to quote my post on the Salada Tea Doors in a brochure she was putting together. The doors are in the same building as the restaurant. I gave permission, of course, but I should have asked for a discount coupon while I was at it. Oh, well.
- Just this week I heard from Cameron Conaway, a freelance writer for Newsweek and Stanford Social Innovation Review as well as editor of The Modern Team website, who took the time our a busy day to let me know that Mark Nichols, one of their writers, had been inspired by Susanne’s post on Disruptive Innovation. Wow, that just made our day.
- A reader who took issue with my post on Bathroom Wars sent several long comments that included links to scientific research studies with results that presented new and contradictory facts to consider. I am making my way through those.
- A tourist from Montreal let me know that he would make a point to visit the Kensington Lions in Copley Square before returning home. He also suggested a topic for a future post on Boston’s Hidden Gems that I will be writing soon.
- The creator of a new website contacted me to see if I was interested in becoming a beta user. The site is designed “to put hidden gems of historical, cultural, and general interest on a map, and to do so in a way that is both unusual and that adds a bit of fun to finding them.” In a kind of online scavenger hunt, “a person can try to find the hidden gem based solely on knowing its location and a clue.” I have never been a beta user before so I’m having fun entering clues now and again.
- Just for the fun of it, I have also started putting some of my Hidden Gems and Bronze Menagerie posts on Atlas Obscura. This site is a collaborative project that depends on a community of “explorers” to help them discover “amazing, hidden spots,” as well as unusual items and occurrences so Atlas Obscura can share them. While I took the initiative to start doing this, one of their editors recently complimented me on my “fantastic” knowledge of Boston’s hidden places. I felt pretty good about that .
When this kind of communication happens—and we love it when it does—it validates that what we are doing and writing has meaning. Blogger validation is important for a lot of reasons: It reassures us that our opinions and ideas have substance. It feels good to know that our work has been noticed and appreciated. And it warms our hearts to know that people Out There are reading and enjoying what we have written.
For Love and Fun
To to be clear, we do this for the love of writing and the fun of communication. The Next Phase is not a commercial blog and we sure don’t get paid for the hours we spend writing. We do it because we have ideas, opinions, information, suggestions- and recommendations and we want to share them with the world.
Just like leaders need followers, peanut butter needs jelly, and sailboats need wind — writers need readers. It’s a mutual thing. We hope you appreciate our posts as much as we appreciate it that you read them. If you like a post, please Share it on Facebook, Share or Like on LinkedIn, re-Tweet or Like on Twitter so others can enjoy it, too. And always feel free to comment on a post.
We love to hear from you and thank you for reading The Next Phase Blog.