Friday, November 21, 2008

Green Blogs and the Built Environment

If you didn’t get a chance to go to Greenbuild in Boston this year, plan to go next year. It was an event full of energy and passion as well as brilliant people, all with a laser-like focus on saving the planet. Really, not a bad way to spend a few days.

I had the great pleasure of moderating a panel there called "Green Blogs and the Built Environment" with four green bloggers, all who spend their days writing about the latest trends in architecture, product design, technology, urban planning and all things green. The panelists, Preston Kroner from Jetson Green, Lloyd Alter from Treehugger, Stephen Del Percio from Green Buildings NYC and Willem Mass from Green Home Guide (recently purchased by the USGBC) were great. One of the most fun panels I’ve been a part of in a while.

We covered everything from how to make money blogging to the hottest topics on the web to the influence of blogging on the environmental movement.

One of the more spicy topics covered was the “death of blogging.” Most blog research sites indicate a flattening (or only slight increase) of blog activity over the last year or so. One of our panelists was a proponent of Twitter and other microblogs, stating that the future of blogs may in fact be creating shorter commentary that can be written anywhere as opposed to blogging, which requires you to be at your desk. Another panelist suggested that blogs may go in one of two directions – they will be bought up by large companies (like Treehugger) or they will become more boutique, specialized smaller blogs. Most agreed that blogs will not be going away anytime soon, they just may be read less due to the hoard of other media options.

Another interesting topic was this issue of readership and content. Most panelists agree that their traffic is largely generated by Google searches or applications like Digg rather than direct links to their site. Digg, in case you don’t use it already, is a great tool that will sort all blogs and websites for topics you choose and then provide those articles to you daily. This is a nice tool for sorting through lots of new info quickly, but often you see the same article or topic brought up over and over again (because everyone is using Digg). Often, much of the content has only been repeated and it’s not original material. This is cause for concern, because clearly fact checking is not occurring. Some panelist are going to more remote places to dig up stories rather than depend on Digg functions.

The takeaways for new bloggers?

  1. Everyone who is anyone will have a blog at some point very soon. Even if Twitter and Facebook get hotter, blogging will continue to be an important way to express your ideas and brand. So just get started already!
  2. Have an opinion and check multiple sources before you post an entry. You are a reporter now and you have a reputation to protect.
  3. Be committed and prepared to research and write several hours a week. For that reason, blog about something you are passionate enough to write often and longer than a few months.
  4. Reach out to other bloggers for tips and ideas. You may make a few friends along the way.


Amy said...

I was there! I was too shy to make a comment in front of all of those people but I wanted to add a thought to how people find the above mentioned blogs. I have a personal blog much like this one but it's not just about green subject matter. It's about my life in general and green subject matter is included in that. Many of my family and friends read it and see what I have to say. I have Treehugger linked on my blog list as well and will be adding more soon. My family and friends who aren't necessarily so into being green are influenced by the content I put on my blog and then go to the green blogs from there. It's not all through green subject specific searches on Google that people find the green blogs. Just a thought. Did that make any sense at all??? Off to see the HOK blog now....

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