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Blogging: Learning how to take others on journey with you and not leave them behind as you travel…

Imagine desiring to get through the Sahara Desert and trying to get to a certain location on the other side of it. In light of that desire, the natural response would be to go find someone who knew the terrain and could help you traverse the area/navigate where you’re at so you could get to your location as quickly as possible and survive. However, it would not be beneficial if your tour guide/map supplier gave you information that didn’t help you in that goal – whether that be giving you information about the size of the area you’re in, pointing out information on the history of how the Sahara became what it was, telling you about the people in the Sahara (like the Berbers) or talking on the wildlife of the Sahara and other things that didn’t really touch on the issue of finding the quickest route.

All of the information that your tour guide gave may not be bad in/of itself – and it may even come in handy with navigating things quickly – but unless explictly shown/told how it can help you with navigation, the information would serve to distract you from the original goal you had…and you’ll end up lost. What would be ironic in all of that is if the information being given to a tourist or traveller trying to get through was all done with the intention of helping the tourist based on the personality type of the map-maker – for the map developers could’ve given out information based on the fact that they personally would’ve relied on such information if in the position of the tourist…..even though they never took the time to ask/consider what the average tourist wanted and gear things toward their audience.

In the same way, through blogging, I’ve learned that it can be similarly difficult/frustrating when seeking to make information that benefits others in what they seek but not giving information that would help them find their way to the destination they were seeking. Blogging is something I’m passionate on – and I’ve followed several blogs over the years, some of my favorites being those that have exceptional detail/depth since I process in that manner mentally. But in blogging over the past several weeks with the class assignments and gaining knowledge, perhaps the most impactful lesson I’ve gained is knowing how to speak with your audience rather than speaking past your audience.  It does not matter how you may enjoy and recieve information – for if marketing something you feel is important and saying you’re concerned about the general audience you’re reaching out to, you must find ways to connect with the audience in ways they find the most effective……and not overwhelm or distract your audience from achieving connection. Not distracting your audience, as I’ve learned, also involves making it easy for your audience to connect  you – be it in the ability to leave comments or having a engaging presentation with Imagery/headings and format….and things as simple as having your postings outlined on one side so/only having so much information available to read in them before seeing the “read more” button.

Blogging over the past several weeks has helped me to consider the ways I need to improve in my blogging style – one of the most specific ways being taking time to not put out too much information which can take away from those things which are the main points. In addition to this, I’ve learned the need to find ways to create a road-map for others to travel through whenever you’re blogging so that people can easily follow. Often times, it seems that conversation has not been properly facciliated due to others having no understanding on how to make things easy to traverse – like writing a story/narrative that others can keep up with. Focusing on those things which would best make a point can be difficult – but it is necessary if you’re going to ensure that your audience isn’t lost before they even dare to travel…..and it is also important so that they don’t get lost in the process of travelling to wherever the goal may be. Blogging has helped me realize the importance of not focusing on the methods used in or the mode/medium more so than the actual goal.

The goal of Pilgrim Gxg was to focus on sharing my own travels in the world, the things which I’ve seen to be important and helping others share in that journey. But that journey will always require knowing how to help people who do not think or relate to information the same way as you – and finding ways to make their journey an enjoyable one. The tools and advice I’ve recieved in my Social Media Class when it comes to knowing how to share your stories efficiently or leave things out of a story so that you can connect others has been invaluable to me and I pray I can continue to develop in what I’ve sought to grow in. Even though I was tempted to think that perhaps the key to making a good blog is to make a formula out of it where it was automatically short or a small amount of paragraphs, there are no forumlas that can truly address the matter since blogging isn’t about length or brevity solely. It’s about creatively making thing accessible. As another noted best on the issue, “It’s not about what you cover, it’s about what you discover.”.

In one of the blogs I made which addressed Human Trafficking, I learned how something that hindered me was that I had put information out of order – and although finished well with discussing human trafficking, it would have connected more if I had begun talking on that and linking to the appropriate information on organizations dealing with that. Giving out previous information on analogies to set the stage may’ve been well-intentioned – but it took away from what I wanted others to discover primarily. I had to learn how to prioritize those things I wanted others to discover first. Practicing things over times has helped me to improve on my blogging skill – and that is not a small issue since blogging is not a small issue, as famous Marketing Guru Seth Godin said best:

ANd with so many differing styles in existence in blogging, knowing how to connect with each one is key:

Discovering information can be very tedious. I was very surprised how long it often took for me to write blogs in the hopes that they were clear enough, creative and engaging for the reader. It’s very easy to start a conversation, but another thing to find out on ways to really keep it going. There were many times when I had to consider that I needed to share something personal about myself in a post rather than simply sharing information/facts – and other times when I needed to know how to not focus so much on what I thought personally on an issue if the goal was to educate on a social media issue where I needed verification on concepts. One of the activties facciliated by the Social Media class which really helped me out was studying the blogs of others and seeing the ways they wrote. For in keeping up with other’s blogs, it helped me to find templates/blueprints of what it was I could aim for to connect with others. Blogging is something that really requires keeping up with what is happening in the world around you – seeing what others blog about so that you don’t fall behind.

Netvibes has really aided me in knowing how to do that. Decades ago, to have current awareness on events meant subscribing to email lists, reading library journals and magazines  and looking at various websites. However, recent times have shifted the meaning of having current awareness to where we now  aware of current issues at a much quicker pace. Whereas journals come out only every so often, a tweet can be sent in seconds and a blog conversation written in minutes. A negative aspect of this is that many people can feel overwhelmed with all of the info they feel compelled to keep up with – although some have pointed out that it’s more of a battle with a filter failure, as  said by Clay Shirky.

Knowing how to select and sort information in a practical way is something Netvibes has aided me greatly with. One example was when I was looking up information for a social campaign project on the subject of community gardening. As expansive as that topic is, to simply go online/look up information on it by using Google would be quite intimidating since you would never know what is deemed to be the most important dynamics behind the issue – but using NETVibes helped me to narrow things down….discovering what was currently being discussed on it so that I could be up-to-date and also aware of where I need to focus in on things. NETVibes really teaches you to learn the value in “listening” to inform what yous say BEFORE you decide to say it – as no one wishes to speak passionately on something that no one is really looking to listen to…..or speaking with information that may be accurate but is only relevant to a previous era, like having a map that was made in the 50s and still trying to tell others on locations that may’ve changed in the 90s/onward.

Sometimes, by using NETVibes, the entire context of my focus with gardening changed since I was made aware of other angles I had not considered before. The extent of detail I could give was widened and I didn’t feel like I was stuck in one area alone ….and knowing the types of conversations others were having helped me to see ways I could alter my conversational style online so as to reach those people. There are so many people in the world with differing styles and interests – but knowing who they are helps in knowing where you’re at…and better improving the ways you navigate/help others to navigate in their destinations.

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About Gabriel (G²)

Just another intelligent black man (a dying breed, mind you) living it up under pressure, giving it up to the game called life, taking the good with the bad, the pain with the gain, and still keeping it R.E.A.L (Relational, Enlightened/Effective, Authentic, and Lively) in the way I deal while bringing fame, not shame, to the Name... of Christ. In case anyone was confused as to what I just said/meant (most likely you were), I'm a college student at GSU and seeking to live for the Lord.I'm also a Youth Worker and I'm also a full time brother to my little sister (Risa--already 8yrs and still going strong-Bless God!) and good son to mi familia. I'm also an runner (though not at my prime, I intend to get back soon and have tried throughout the year...it's gotten better), a singer, and a teacher. Love history and studying it with other academics

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