Confessions of a half-ass blogger

Like Geraldo Rivera prying open “Al Capone’s vaults,” I broke a few electronic locks on this blog and slid into the dusty darkness. And like Geraldo, the results are pretty underwhelming — a few bottles here, some mummified rats in the corner, and not a lot of content.

For a blog titled “matthewrothenberg.com” — a blog that bears the domain of someone with decades in the business of communicating, mostly via the written word — this place really sucks.

To start cleaning up this mess, I might as well consider how it got so musty and flyblown in the first place.

Confession #1: I only set up this blog as a container for my resume. Back in October 2006, my friend and then-Hachette colleague Chris Herring pointed out that while I’d been happily participating in social media for years (including curating the user-generated content for ZDNet News), I’d never gotten around to taking this simple step toward self-promotion. D’oh!

Confession #2: This blog is on Blogger with the default appearance because I was too lazy and cheap to think about alternatives. I’ve since created other, superior blogs with WordPress and Drupal … but I never bothered to fix up the blog bearing my name. (Maybe Blogger is adequate, but I’ve never thought about it.) D’oh!!

Confession #3: I’ve done much better. In February 2008, I launched the Che Underground blog, which was dedicated to rediscovering a group of bands I played with 25 years earlier. We launched it on WordPress and hosted it on PowWeb; my friend and former Che Underground veteran Dave Ellison skinned it to look cool and rock-‘n’-roll; and other confederates like Kristin Martin, Jeremiah Cornelius and Jason Brownell helped keep the software up to date. (While this blog has gotten about 6,000 visitors in its lifetime, Che Underground peaked at around 16,000 uniques per month.)

Another example: Jason and I are the principals of a music startup called Sceneroller, and he set up a nice blog within the Drupal environment that I’ve made use of to talk about music scenes and how folks have documented them.

Meanwhile, I’ve also taken advantage of Twitter; LinkedIn; and most notably Facebook, where I provoke a lot of participation with tortured puns and a bit of topical provocation. People who meet me often start by telling me how much they enjoy my Facebook posts … No one has ever complimented anything I put up here. D’oh!!!

Which brings me to my final confession …

Confession #4: The content on this blog is lame. I never decided what I wanted it to be, so it’s never turned into anything worth reading. I’ve alternated between Purell-sanitized reports about my family and weak efforts at self-promotion about my current jobs. Without any kind of center or real voice, this thing has languished like Al Capone’s vault.

This is not a content strategy, friends … And for someone who bases his practice on examining clients’ strongest intellectual assets and giving them a distinct voice, it’s actually an embarrassment!

A bonus confession: I’m not yet sure where I’m going to steer this content bus, so I’m not going to start promoting it through other social media. But it’s coming out of its rut starting now.

Furthur!

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