Blogger thoughts on building community


It’s been a big few weeks here at Brazen Careerist.

First, I’ve been accepted at 9Rules, a smart, very picky, community of serious bloggers, and I’ve been invited to be part of the Washington Post’s blog program as well.

On top of that, blogs with very heavy traffic have been linking here, so average daily page views for December have jumped to about 4000.

With all this attention has come an amazing community of people who comment on the blog and who email me directly. The conversation is a gift to me — a bunch of very interesting people who are willing to talk about topics I’m interested in. The community is what makes blogging fun. People told me that at the beginning of my life as a blogger, but I didn’t get it until a few months later.

Hosting a conversation is tricky. I’ve been writing a column for seven years. People who have been reading for the whole time have put up with a lot of repetition as I revisit and revisit my pet topics. And when I see a bunch of new readers, I think, the conversation will be better if I get everyone up to speed on these issues.

It’s a fine line, though. Sarah Davis pointed out that I’m repeating myself. It’s true. In the post she’s referring to I link five or six times to other posts of mine.

I think, though, that sometimes to grow with a topic you have to revisit the topic, and look at a slightly different angle. It’s a fine line between that and sounding like a scratched record. I am working on finding the right side of that line.

Meanwhile, I like that Sarah is sticking with me – and reading critically – while I’m figuring out when to revisit a topic within a fast-growing community. I hope there are lots of people like her out there.

8 replies
  1. Katelyn Sack
    Katelyn Sack says:

    Congratulations on your 9Rules and WaPo coups! I’m so glad more and more people are noticing what a great job you do promoting discourse, building on your best-loved themes while introducing new insights into the mix every day.

  2. Tamar
    Tamar says:

    GOOD FOR YOU. And for us! Hooray. You’re a top resource for intelligent being, thinking, and doing. As for repeating yourself, until it appears you are suffering from a health problem, keep it up. Jewish custom is to read the Torah – Five Books of Moses (Hebrew Bible) starting with Genesis… word by word every year. Just as we can never step into the same river twice, we can never hear something the same way we heard it on previous encounters. The river and we change, and while the Torah remains the same, we don’t. So you, Penelope, are different each time you repurpose a piece, and we are different – €“ wiser if we’re lucky – on re-reading or revisiting your points, each successive iteration offering a new twist.

  3. Bill C.
    Bill C. says:

    Congrats on the bump-up! :D

    As far as being repetitious, it’s definitely something to watch out for, but blogging is like building something. Ideas that you’re coming up with now are based on ideas that you stated before. The people that have been reading your column(s) for a long time already know what you’re about in those areas, so it’s going to look redundant to them. The new people are going to need the repetition in order to be able to understand what you’re basing your new ideas on.

    I suppose the best way to NOT be redundant would be to be able to remember every single post where you had certain ideas and link back to them instead of re-stating them. However, that takes a lot of time, memory and energy compared to re-stating those ideas and letting the regulars skim that section and move on.

  4. Diana
    Diana says:

    Many congratulations!!

    I think the danger is not just repeating topics, but repeating ideas. If you just revisit the same topics and make the same points, and perhaps just add more links to newer research, you’re not really adding anything to your previous analysis.

    However, this being a career blog and all, there *are* certain topics that will always come up, because that’s what people are asking about (job search, life management, diversity in the workplace, etc.). But I think you do a really great job of bringing up new topics outside of what people would normally discuss, or presenting a fresh perspective on “stale” topics. That’s what keeps me coming back to this blog.

  5. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    Hi Penelope,

    I’m so glad that you and your blog are getting the recognition you deserve. Your column has helped me considerably over the years as I changed careers twice and jobs one more time.

    I’ve been reading you since your Business 2.0 days and have found it enjoyable seeing how your perspective has changed from one focused purely on “career” to one that looks at the relationship between career and life — or looks at career as part of life, and not separate from it.

    I’ll now have to check out 9 Rules and the Washington Post community.

    Take care,


  6. Jason Alba
    Jason Alba says:

    Yahoo, congrats and felicidades! You are a great blogger with a smart community.

    I have the same problem where I feel like I revisit the same stuff, but I figure I can have my general “ideas” (as mentioned above) as categories… that is the breadth of my blog. I can go anywhere I want and explore deeper, or specific areas of these categories, and that is the depth. And since this is your blog, you can define the breadth and depth however you want.

    And of course, mood may dictate covering old ground, but for new readers it ain’t so old, and I love how Tamar puts it, as we may have read it a few months ago but life experiences have changed us and we may read it with a different perspective.

    Looking forward to reading more of your stuff in more places!

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