To boldly blog where no man has blogged before

Sports book publisher Randall Northam has delved into the realm of 21st century publishing, and entered the blogosphere. Watch out Guido Fawkes and the Huffington Post
I’ve come late to the land of the blog. Everyone and his dog has got one, bar one of my friends who’s a publisher in the north-east, but he hasn’t even got an answerphone, so that’s not surprising.

Apparently, having a blog is essential these days, so I had to get one. Now I’m sure I’m going to waste an awful lot of time posting on it.

For those who don’t know what a blog is (and it took me a while to find out) it’s like being Hugh McIlvanney or Patrick Collins, but without the salary. You can record all your thoughts, opinions, observations and a few prejudices, all on the internet. At the start, I’m certain no one will read it, but you hope that it will prove so interesting that you will have your own audience in a while.

It’s easy to set up, too. As long as someone else does it for you. There are several free programmes (we use WordPress, as does the SJA) and provided you know someone with enough knowledge of the internet, you can get it linked to your website (what you are looking at now is in fact a blog set within a website).

Even if you don’t have a website, you can still have a blog. But if you don’t know what a website is, then perhaps you ought to go back to writing in longhand and hoping you don’t run out of sealing wax.

I did try, being reasonably computer literate, to set it up myself at first but while I could get the blog going – it took all of half an hour – I couldn’t attach it to my website, which is the whole point. So I went back to the people to made my website and they did the hard part.

Apart from the lemming effect – every one else has got one, so I should have one as well – it’s clear that blogs can be useful for small media businesses. For instance, such is the power of search engines – Google being the main one – these days that their robots can pick out interesting news stories even from small blogs like mine, and direct people interested in that topic to your site (that’s the theory, anyway).

So if none of the trade magazines want to print what I send to them, I can still hope that people can pick up announcements through the blog. And eventually, they might come to view the blog every day because they are either entertained by my ramblings or think there might be something useful to them.

Roy Greenslade’s blog, for instance, is the sort of media resource that most self-respecting journalists ought to read regularly, even if they disagree with Greenslade’s views. It has even followed up some items from the SJA website. The danger of blogs, especially for working journalists, though, is that they can eat up time which could be spent actually getting stories.

The only traffic I’ve had so far has come from people I’d told about the blog. Word of mouth still works in this multi-media age.

One friend was commentating on my thoughts, hardly new now but they were when I first thought them, that Gerrard and Lampard were not compatible in the England midfield.

My friend wrote how sad Frank looked sat in the stand in Barcelona with a bandage on his arm and did I think it a genuine injury. Or was it possible that McClaren gave him a Chinese burn?

How businesses learned to love the blogosphere