As with most things, I didn't understand it at first, then was slow to adopt. But ever since I became muzzily aware of The Internets in the 90's, since Algore's invention of them, I looked for ways to use the forum for Biblical witness. I was involved in discussion groups and forums such as FreeRepublic and other avenues that allowed any degree of free speech to Christians. Very often the setting was hostile, as it was when I was one of very few Christian voices on a Babylon 5 group which was often visited by its atheist creator, J. Michael Straczynski.
That was... lively.
In an attempt to make relatively untrolled discussion possible, I tried a couple of message boards. But they were invaded by unhinged trolls. One of them variously declared himself demon-possessed, and harped only on irrelevant anti-American themes. Banned under one IP, he'd get another. He eventually obliterated every last post by posting dozens and dozens of one-letter or two-letter "comments."
Somewhere around there I bought the http:www.bibchr.com site, to put up some of my writings. But it didn't allow for interaction, and I wasn't tech-savvy enough to make it a pretty or dynamic site. It continues (A) because of the simple URL, and (B) as a place for me to refer to my apologetic, Gospel, and Christian-growth writings, among a number of others.
Blog. So Hugh Hewitt (I think it was) got me into blogging...and someone got me to reading Phil Johnson's solo blog in particular. Wish I could remember who. I had known of Phil from his Spurgeon web site, and also from his bookmarks site. In fact, I'd tried to get listed on his bookmarks site.
I took to commenting at Phil's site, and others, and putting up my occasional posts on marriage, and Christian involvement in public life, and Pat Robertson. I even sort of tag-teamed with Phil, though I didn't know whether he knew me from Adam.
Then came the fateful email I've spoken of often, in which Phil invited me to team-blog with him and Frank (who I didn't know from Adam). I was so thunderstruck that I was afraid to answer. Surely Phil had the wrong "Dan." Just enjoy the dream one more day....
But it was real, and here we are. It's being a terrific blessing, and a terrific opportunity, and a terrific way to network. I'll write about the opportunity aspect in another post, Lord willing.
This blog is probably what you'd call a moderate-traffic blog, while Pyromaniacs is a high-traffic blog. I may average 700-800 visits a day during the week, which is... startling. But at Pyro it's more like 3000. There, we passed a million a long time ago. It will take me longer to get there.
But let me just finish with two disparate thoughts:
- I really believe in blogging. F. F. Bruce's Paul: the Apostle of the Heart Set Free was disappointing in many ways. But one thing stood out. Paul was a man who used absolutely every ability, every aspect, every opportunity he could lay his hands on to do one thing: spread the Word. I have no doubt whatever that he would either be a blogger, or he'd have his apprentices at it. What other way to catch people from all over the globe, any hour of the day or night, and give them the Word? I believe in it even more today than the day I started.
- Do you want more people to read your blog, but you're nobody? Two simple rules. (1) Do not link-troll. (2) Do interact with excellence. Simple as that. Few are more obnoxious than first-timers who say "Great site! Please come see my blog, tell me what you think!" All you'll give yourself is a stink around your name. Plus, few will do as you ask. Perhaps nobody. But if you go and get to know blogs you like, spend some time, get to know what's going on, interact meaningfully and articulately and pointedly and succinctly — then others will say, "Hey, this brother/sister is pretty sharp. Wonder if (s)he has a blog." And before you know it, Bob's your uncle. And maybe you'll still be nobody, but some somebody will give you an opportunity. Then, who knows?
- Do you want people to keep reading your blog? Make short posts, as a rule. I know bloggers whose comments are models of pithy succinctness... and then their posts are 20000-word epics. Avoid that.