A Blog Identity Crisis

What is Your Blogging Identity?What is your blogging identity?

This weekend I spent some time away from the online world. I enjoyed the celebration of America’s independence with family and friends, breaking away from the Tweets and blogs for a couple days. Over the past couple days I’ve spent considerable time thinking about the future direction of Life Without Pants. Taking these brief ‘hiatuses’ have a funny effect on us web-folk – they force us to take a step back and think ‘ Who am I? What am I doing here? What’s the point of it all?’

We’re not necessarily doubting ourselves, but rather the (online) medium in general. I love to write, I am passionate about facilitating conversation and providing a forum for people to communicate, debate, and share ideas. But as the community continues to grow, as my blog continues to gain notoriety, I worry that I am becoming too specific, that I am appealing to only a very limited twenty-something audience and failing to engage a large number of (potential) readers out there.

The other ‘identity crisis’ I’ve been going through is the actual direction I want the blog to take. Do I ‘typecast’ myself as a twenty-something blogging about his philosophy on life, or do I focus more on my professional pursuits of web/social media marketing, advertising, journalism, and public relations? Can there be a happy medium or do I have to choose a ‘theme’. Is it too early in my career to be concerned with labeling myself? Is my theme being dictated by the articles I’ve already written? Is it really up to me or am I ultimately defined by my community of readers?

And lastly I think about back to when it all began – not only with Life Without Pants, but years ago when I decided to start blogging about my experiences on the web: What’s the point? Are we here to simply speak our mind and hope some people out there are listening? Or are we all after ‘fame and fortune’?

Some questions to ponder:


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97 Responses
  • Kristina Reply

    I am beginning to think that blogging is different for everyone and is defined only by you and your personality. We all look different and act different and those differences make us unique and who we are. I think that blogging should be the same way. We all have different reasons for blogging and that should be ok. I feel like there is pressure now for people to blog a certain way and with a certain purpose as blogging become another marketing tool. That’s not how it got started and wasn’t the point of it originally. I blog because there are interesting articles and interesting thoughts and sometimes it is nice to have people respond when I though my feelings out there as my pink journal with the names of classical authors inscribed on it doesn’t respond back. But, for me, I love to write and I write whether anyone responds or not. yes, it is nice to start a discussion and see it take off. I think everyone should use blogging for whatever it is they desire. As long as you are happy with what you are doing with your blog, everything else will wall into place.
    That is just my 2 cents worth..or maybe it is a $1 worth.

    • Matt Reply

      @Kristina. I’ll share a little bit about me personally: I have started up and authored several blogs in the past, each of which I viewed as a failure because no one was out there reading (or at least very few). I wrote about some broad topics that were designed to spark discussion, but my commitment to driving conversation wasn’t there (completely the opposite here).

      Today, my purpose is three-fold. I write for myself because it’s a passion, plain and simple. I write for the establishment of my own ‘personal brand’ – making a name for myself as someone who is knowledgeable in the marketing/social media/advertising/PR realm. And lastly, I write for the community, I write in an effort to encourage new ways of thinking and discussion. If I had no readers, if no one was ever out there commenting, I’ll admit, I would be discouraged, because it’s happened before and I know how it felt.

      But I think, what this illustrates and reiterates is your point that blogging can and is different for everyone. Think of it as a balance-beam. The beam leans more toward ‘personal fulfillment’ for some, while others primary focus is writing for the benefit of the community. There’s no right or wrong method to the madness.

      I’ll ask this: Would you keep writing if NO ONE was reading/commenting?

      • Kristina Reply

        yes, I would. I love to write. I started blogging back in October over on blogger (however, I screwed up in trying to move them to wordpress and lost them, ha! so yo cna’t read them) but no one ever commented. I don’t know that anyone even read them. I started because I needed an outlet for my writing that was more than my journal. I never really thought about readers or any of that. that is just me. Actually, it goes with my personality, now that I think about it. I’m not really a social person by nature. so, for my blog to not be social by nature either fits who I am.

        • Matt Reply

          (To play devil’s advocate)

          What made you put down the journal and start up a blog? You mentioned that you needed a new outlet for your writing – did that mean writing publicly so that people COULD potentially read and WOULD potentially comment. In other words, why didn’t you just keep the journal or fire up a Word document.

          There is something that compels all of us to take our writing to the public forum of the web – the minute you start a blog, you’re putting yourself out there for all to see. My question is, at the root of it all, is our motivation inherently vain and self-centered?

          Something to think about.

          • Kristina Reply

            my first blog entry was fueled by me being utterly annoyed by drivers on the road as I drove to school and their stupidity. I didn’t have my journal with me, so I found a public computer, went to blogger, set up an account and vented!I also thought that if I put my writing out there I would be “discovered” I have since moved on from that idea, but if I kept everything in my journal then no one would ever see my wonderful writing and give me a job. Honestly,my blog right now really is just a public journal and it will be, if it even gets updated, until I have time to make it something.

            • Matt Reply

              It sounds like you’ve gone back and forth when it comes to your blog’s ‘purpose’ – I know the feeling, and my advice to you is to keep doing what you do. A blog can be an outstanding supplement to a professional career, especially a freelancer such as yourself.

              • Kristina Reply

                it can be when you have time to update it. Right now it says “Hi I am still alive and law school owns me.” lol. umm..we might have to start a new comment chain as the comment box gets smaller and smaller.

  • Kristina Reply

    I am beginning to think that blogging is different for everyone and is defined only by you and your personality. We all look different and act different and those differences make us unique and who we are. I think that blogging should be the same way. We all have different reasons for blogging and that should be ok. I feel like there is pressure now for people to blog a certain way and with a certain purpose as blogging become another marketing tool. That’s not how it got started and wasn’t the point of it originally. I blog because there are interesting articles and interesting thoughts and sometimes it is nice to have people respond when I though my feelings out there as my pink journal with the names of classical authors inscribed on it doesn’t respond back. But, for me, I love to write and I write whether anyone responds or not. yes, it is nice to start a discussion and see it take off. I think everyone should use blogging for whatever it is they desire. As long as you are happy with what you are doing with your blog, everything else will wall into place.
    That is just my 2 cents worth..or maybe it is a $1 worth.

    • Matt Reply

      @Kristina. I’ll share a little bit about me personally: I have started up and authored several blogs in the past, each of which I viewed as a failure because no one was out there reading (or at least very few). I wrote about some broad topics that were designed to spark discussion, but my commitment to driving conversation wasn’t there (completely the opposite here).

      Today, my purpose is three-fold. I write for myself because it’s a passion, plain and simple. I write for the establishment of my own ‘personal brand’ – making a name for myself as someone who is knowledgeable in the marketing/social media/advertising/PR realm. And lastly, I write for the community, I write in an effort to encourage new ways of thinking and discussion. If I had no readers, if no one was ever out there commenting, I’ll admit, I would be discouraged, because it’s happened before and I know how it felt.

      But I think, what this illustrates and reiterates is your point that blogging can and is different for everyone. Think of it as a balance-beam. The beam leans more toward ‘personal fulfillment’ for some, while others primary focus is writing for the benefit of the community. There’s no right or wrong method to the madness.

      I’ll ask this: Would you keep writing if NO ONE was reading/commenting?

      • Kristina Reply

        yes, I would. I love to write. I started blogging back in October over on blogger (however, I screwed up in trying to move them to wordpress and lost them, ha! so yo cna’t read them) but no one ever commented. I don’t know that anyone even read them. I started because I needed an outlet for my writing that was more than my journal. I never really thought about readers or any of that. that is just me. Actually, it goes with my personality, now that I think about it. I’m not really a social person by nature. so, for my blog to not be social by nature either fits who I am.

        • Matt Reply

          (To play devil’s advocate)

          What made you put down the journal and start up a blog? You mentioned that you needed a new outlet for your writing – did that mean writing publicly so that people COULD potentially read and WOULD potentially comment. In other words, why didn’t you just keep the journal or fire up a Word document.

          There is something that compels all of us to take our writing to the public forum of the web – the minute you start a blog, you’re putting yourself out there for all to see. My question is, at the root of it all, is our motivation inherently vain and self-centered?

          Something to think about.

          • Kristina Reply

            my first blog entry was fueled by me being utterly annoyed by drivers on the road as I drove to school and their stupidity. I didn’t have my journal with me, so I found a public computer, went to blogger, set up an account and vented!I also thought that if I put my writing out there I would be “discovered” I have since moved on from that idea, but if I kept everything in my journal then no one would ever see my wonderful writing and give me a job. Honestly,my blog right now really is just a public journal and it will be, if it even gets updated, until I have time to make it something.

            • Matt Reply

              It sounds like you’ve gone back and forth when it comes to your blog’s ‘purpose’ – I know the feeling, and my advice to you is to keep doing what you do. A blog can be an outstanding supplement to a professional career, especially a freelancer such as yourself.

              • Kristina Reply

                it can be when you have time to update it. Right now it says “Hi I am still alive and law school owns me.” lol. umm..we might have to start a new comment chain as the comment box gets smaller and smaller.

  • rikin Reply

    Matt, I share some of these same thoughts too frequently to even remember. To be honest, I gave up on Gen Y blogging along time ago for a number of reasons. First, I felt the things on my mind related to a number of people not just Gen Y’ers. Second, I wanted to talk about things I was passionate about and though I love our generation, we are a confused and fickle group and I knew I’d struggle with that in the long run. So I decided to focus on emerging trends and new media from a GenY perspective which leads me to the third reason which was not wanting future employers to see my blog as amateur or green by any means. Finally, I respect everyone’s feedback and limiting my audience meant limiting the responses and opportunities to explore new paths.

    I don’t think I define my blog but because my definition of myself changes so often at the age of 24 my blog is probably suffering because of it.

    As for blogging as a platform, I still feel as if it is the best medium because of its low risk and opportunity for high payout (not only in terms of monetization). If you’re every discouraged just read through the comments of your posts which are always filled with positive feedback and words of encouragement.

    • Matt Reply

      @Rikin. This is where my ‘doubt’ (for lack of a better term) is settling in. It’s not about whether or not I want to keep Life Without Pants going (it’s here to stay, no doubt about that – don’t mistake this for being personally discouraged). Instead, I’m wondering if I am overly narrowing my reach. I’m wondering if that is inevitable for any writer, if broadening your audience is possible, or if you are just labeled with a certain writing style that caters to a specific audience.

      I’m doing what I can to go against that grain. To write about my passions and interests. To spark relevant and timely conversation, but to do so both within and outside of the 20-26 year old age group. Seeing innovative minds from other generations come through and share their wisdom is important to me, it adds much-needed diversity to the community here. Their (speaking collectively) comment doesn’t ‘mean more’ but it’s less expected, and thus, always a pleasant surprise.

      Is it far too early in the game to worry about narrowing or broadening our reach/labeling ourselves? What do you think?

  • rikin Reply

    Matt, I share some of these same thoughts too frequently to even remember. To be honest, I gave up on Gen Y blogging along time ago for a number of reasons. First, I felt the things on my mind related to a number of people not just Gen Y’ers. Second, I wanted to talk about things I was passionate about and though I love our generation, we are a confused and fickle group and I knew I’d struggle with that in the long run. So I decided to focus on emerging trends and new media from a GenY perspective which leads me to the third reason which was not wanting future employers to see my blog as amateur or green by any means. Finally, I respect everyone’s feedback and limiting my audience meant limiting the responses and opportunities to explore new paths.

    I don’t think I define my blog but because my definition of myself changes so often at the age of 24 my blog is probably suffering because of it.

    As for blogging as a platform, I still feel as if it is the best medium because of its low risk and opportunity for high payout (not only in terms of monetization). If you’re every discouraged just read through the comments of your posts which are always filled with positive feedback and words of encouragement.

    • Matt Reply

      @Rikin. This is where my ‘doubt’ (for lack of a better term) is settling in. It’s not about whether or not I want to keep Life Without Pants going (it’s here to stay, no doubt about that – don’t mistake this for being personally discouraged). Instead, I’m wondering if I am overly narrowing my reach. I’m wondering if that is inevitable for any writer, if broadening your audience is possible, or if you are just labeled with a certain writing style that caters to a specific audience.

      I’m doing what I can to go against that grain. To write about my passions and interests. To spark relevant and timely conversation, but to do so both within and outside of the 20-26 year old age group. Seeing innovative minds from other generations come through and share their wisdom is important to me, it adds much-needed diversity to the community here. Their (speaking collectively) comment doesn’t ‘mean more’ but it’s less expected, and thus, always a pleasant surprise.

      Is it far too early in the game to worry about narrowing or broadening our reach/labeling ourselves? What do you think?

  • Benjamin Wilcox Reply

    I agree with Kristina that blogging is different to everyone because of their inherent differences. Not everyone is going to have the same goals for their website and that is OK.

    As for becoming typecast into a twenty something kind of blog, I would ask you what other kind of blog you are going to be writing. The voice of your blog will reflect what kind of person you are. For example, if you want to establish yourself as a marketing expert through your blog, you will still come off as a recent marketing graduate until you gain more industry experience. This is the same as if we were trying to not write a blog from a gen y perspective. What other perspective could you take? Certainly not one of a baby boomer because you don’t have the same values (maybe some but not all) and life lessons that are a part of a baby boomer perspective. It is impossible to blog without perspective and being a member of our generation will come through in our writing, whether we want it to or not.

    • Matt Reply

      @Ben. I think you make a very good point and honestly my ‘fear’ is in Rikin’s point above – coming off too amateurish. It’s all about learning to grow and develop in my writing – challenging myself and asking ‘How can I continue to bring my personality into these ‘broader’ topics (the ROI of social media, web 2.0 marketing, community management, business philosophy).

      I’m at the crossroads of the personal and professional paths wondering if I have to pick one or can incorporate both into an effective strategy.

  • Benjamin Wilcox Reply

    I agree with Kristina that blogging is different to everyone because of their inherent differences. Not everyone is going to have the same goals for their website and that is OK.

    As for becoming typecast into a twenty something kind of blog, I would ask you what other kind of blog you are going to be writing. The voice of your blog will reflect what kind of person you are. For example, if you want to establish yourself as a marketing expert through your blog, you will still come off as a recent marketing graduate until you gain more industry experience. This is the same as if we were trying to not write a blog from a gen y perspective. What other perspective could you take? Certainly not one of a baby boomer because you don’t have the same values (maybe some but not all) and life lessons that are a part of a baby boomer perspective. It is impossible to blog without perspective and being a member of our generation will come through in our writing, whether we want it to or not.

    • Matt Reply

      @Ben. I think you make a very good point and honestly my ‘fear’ is in Rikin’s point above – coming off too amateurish. It’s all about learning to grow and develop in my writing – challenging myself and asking ‘How can I continue to bring my personality into these ‘broader’ topics (the ROI of social media, web 2.0 marketing, community management, business philosophy).

      I’m at the crossroads of the personal and professional paths wondering if I have to pick one or can incorporate both into an effective strategy.

  • Sydney Reply

    I’m still not sure where I’m going with everything. I started my blog to supplement my learning and to help me jump-start my career. Now I’m in this gray area. My blog helped me get the internship, so that’s awesome, but until someone hires me full-time, do I keep looking? Do I keep writing the way I have been once I get a job?

    I’m looking forward to your post tomorrow, hopefully it will be full of some infamous Matt advice. Your writing helps me focus, and for that I am grateful.

    • Matt Reply

      @Sydney. Has my advice and wisdom already achieved infamous status? I’m ecstatic and humbled to hear that you benefit in some (any) way from my writing.

      I see what you’re saying and I think we have had a similar conversation in the past (I think it was with you). The question is, ‘does our blog’s purpose change as we advance in both our personal lives and professional careers?’ One of my initial purposes, not so different from your own, was to use social media and blogging as a platform to establish a name for myself on the web – which I have done and continue to develop. But does that change once I’m working at the job of my dreams? Will the networking and conversation slow down? Probably a little – but I know that if I’m working my ‘dream job’ I’ll be able to incorporate my passions – which includes writing here – in my 9 to 5.

      My advice to you is to keep doing what you do. You’re providing and continue to provide an example for young adults looking to make a change in their life, and you’re proving the benefits of social networking. If not for your efforts in blogging/social media would you have moved to Chicago? Would you have landed a job at an awesome agency? Would you have half the people here in the city? Your style and purpose may evolve over time, but you’ll always be Sydney Owen – and people will remain interested in your writing, whatever it transforms into down the line.

      I may have just helped myself by helping you. How’s that for infamous Matt advice?

  • Sydney Reply

    I’m still not sure where I’m going with everything. I started my blog to supplement my learning and to help me jump-start my career. Now I’m in this gray area. My blog helped me get the internship, so that’s awesome, but until someone hires me full-time, do I keep looking? Do I keep writing the way I have been once I get a job?

    I’m looking forward to your post tomorrow, hopefully it will be full of some infamous Matt advice. Your writing helps me focus, and for that I am grateful.

    • Matt Reply

      @Sydney. Has my advice and wisdom already achieved infamous status? I’m ecstatic and humbled to hear that you benefit in some (any) way from my writing.

      I see what you’re saying and I think we have had a similar conversation in the past (I think it was with you). The question is, ‘does our blog’s purpose change as we advance in both our personal lives and professional careers?’ One of my initial purposes, not so different from your own, was to use social media and blogging as a platform to establish a name for myself on the web – which I have done and continue to develop. But does that change once I’m working at the job of my dreams? Will the networking and conversation slow down? Probably a little – but I know that if I’m working my ‘dream job’ I’ll be able to incorporate my passions – which includes writing here – in my 9 to 5.

      My advice to you is to keep doing what you do. You’re providing and continue to provide an example for young adults looking to make a change in their life, and you’re proving the benefits of social networking. If not for your efforts in blogging/social media would you have moved to Chicago? Would you have landed a job at an awesome agency? Would you have half the people here in the city? Your style and purpose may evolve over time, but you’ll always be Sydney Owen – and people will remain interested in your writing, whatever it transforms into down the line.

      I may have just helped myself by helping you. How’s that for infamous Matt advice?

  • Traildreamer Reply

    I’m not ‘Gen Y’ so probably am not part of ‘the club’ that is forming round that identity, but I’ll give you my perspective. Yes, yours is a ‘gen y’ blog, and there are 100s if not 1000s of them out there. Should that be your defining characteristic? Are there Baby Boomer blogs, or Gen X blogs? I’ve not stumbled across any of either, the bloggers out there of those generations seem to be more focused on other topics. But does that matter in the slightest? Your blog stands out because of the quality of your writing, and the breadth of your thought. Yes, so far, you’ve branded yourself as Gen Y, but part of the reason I follow you is because the issues you discuss are broader than that. I enjoy the ‘gen y’ perspective on things that I would be thinking about anyway, and more than that, I enjoy YOUR perspective on these same things. They are two different things, with considerable overlap obviously, but you are more than just your birth year. One of the wonderful things about blogging is that it evolves, and the community around it evolves with it. In my view, don’t worry about establishing a fixed identity for yourself, continue to write about the ideas and issues that interest and excite you. What evolves will be strong and true to who you are and who you want to be – whether online or offline.

    • Matt Reply

      All I can say is this is exactly what I wanted and needed to hear. Let it be known that this post wasn’t inspired by my thoughts of quitting or giving up – simply wondering which direction I want to head toward. It’s refreshing to know that there are some non Gen-Y’ers who still get something out of my writing. I’m not trying to deny who I am – I am Gen-Y, a 23 year old with limited career and life experience tackling some pretty lofty topics. I don’t claim to be an expert nor do I want to be – part of the reason I encourage the community to get involved is so that I can learn from YOU and so we can learn from each other.

      So thanks for this – I (very much) appreciate your vote of confidence. P.S. Do you have a name? I feel weird calling you ‘Traildreamer’ :)

      • Traildreamer Reply

        Fair point on asking if I have a name! It’s a dilemma that I often wonder about for bloggers. How do people feel about disclosing their identity on such a public forum, and the potential implications for their personal lives or more critically professional lives?

        I’m amazed and impressed at how confidently so many people, particularly Gen Y bloggers, assert themselves under no guises or pseudonyms. But it worries me too. Personally I chose not to disclose my name when I set up my blog because I worked for a UK tax-payer funded institution, that can be rather conservative by nature, and I also belong to a profession that requires its members to be registered and maintain certain standards of conduct. I have regularly blogged about work, and not always ‘towed the party line.’ I could not be sure that what I might discuss in my blog wouldn’t be seen as compromising, or even used to sack me or have me struck-off the professional register. I love what I do with a passion, and have no wish to be struck-off by a small group of small-minded bureaucrats at the top of the tree.

        I have moved on from that job now, and am sometimes tempted to disclose my name and other identifying details as and when it comes up naturally in my blogging. However, I still work in the same sector and may need to consider returning to a similar job in the future. Professional codes of conduct are not keeping up with the rate of change in the online world. Can I, or should I, take the risk of my blog being used against me? And don’t similar issues bother yourself and others?

        • Kristina Reply

          to weigh in on this, yes it concerns me, and that is where my trusty journal comes into play. I am careful of what I blog just like I would be careful what I say at work. Many times have I wanted to write about frustrations, but I don’t. If I wouldn’t want it reported in the newspaper or in a magazine, it doesn’t go in my blog. Sure, it freaks me out to have my identity out there, but sometimes you have to take a leap of faith.

  • Traildreamer Reply

    I’m not ‘Gen Y’ so probably am not part of ‘the club’ that is forming round that identity, but I’ll give you my perspective. Yes, yours is a ‘gen y’ blog, and there are 100s if not 1000s of them out there. Should that be your defining characteristic? Are there Baby Boomer blogs, or Gen X blogs? I’ve not stumbled across any of either, the bloggers out there of those generations seem to be more focused on other topics. But does that matter in the slightest? Your blog stands out because of the quality of your writing, and the breadth of your thought. Yes, so far, you’ve branded yourself as Gen Y, but part of the reason I follow you is because the issues you discuss are broader than that. I enjoy the ‘gen y’ perspective on things that I would be thinking about anyway, and more than that, I enjoy YOUR perspective on these same things. They are two different things, with considerable overlap obviously, but you are more than just your birth year. One of the wonderful things about blogging is that it evolves, and the community around it evolves with it. In my view, don’t worry about establishing a fixed identity for yourself, continue to write about the ideas and issues that interest and excite you. What evolves will be strong and true to who you are and who you want to be – whether online or offline.

    • Matt Reply

      All I can say is this is exactly what I wanted and needed to hear. Let it be known that this post wasn’t inspired by my thoughts of quitting or giving up – simply wondering which direction I want to head toward. It’s refreshing to know that there are some non Gen-Y’ers who still get something out of my writing. I’m not trying to deny who I am – I am Gen-Y, a 23 year old with limited career and life experience tackling some pretty lofty topics. I don’t claim to be an expert nor do I want to be – part of the reason I encourage the community to get involved is so that I can learn from YOU and so we can learn from each other.

      So thanks for this – I (very much) appreciate your vote of confidence. P.S. Do you have a name? I feel weird calling you ‘Traildreamer’ :)

      • Traildreamer Reply

        Fair point on asking if I have a name! It’s a dilemma that I often wonder about for bloggers. How do people feel about disclosing their identity on such a public forum, and the potential implications for their personal lives or more critically professional lives?

        I’m amazed and impressed at how confidently so many people, particularly Gen Y bloggers, assert themselves under no guises or pseudonyms. But it worries me too. Personally I chose not to disclose my name when I set up my blog because I worked for a UK tax-payer funded institution, that can be rather conservative by nature, and I also belong to a profession that requires its members to be registered and maintain certain standards of conduct. I have regularly blogged about work, and not always ‘towed the party line.’ I could not be sure that what I might discuss in my blog wouldn’t be seen as compromising, or even used to sack me or have me struck-off the professional register. I love what I do with a passion, and have no wish to be struck-off by a small group of small-minded bureaucrats at the top of the tree.

        I have moved on from that job now, and am sometimes tempted to disclose my name and other identifying details as and when it comes up naturally in my blogging. However, I still work in the same sector and may need to consider returning to a similar job in the future. Professional codes of conduct are not keeping up with the rate of change in the online world. Can I, or should I, take the risk of my blog being used against me? And don’t similar issues bother yourself and others?

        • Kristina Reply

          to weigh in on this, yes it concerns me, and that is where my trusty journal comes into play. I am careful of what I blog just like I would be careful what I say at work. Many times have I wanted to write about frustrations, but I don’t. If I wouldn’t want it reported in the newspaper or in a magazine, it doesn’t go in my blog. Sure, it freaks me out to have my identity out there, but sometimes you have to take a leap of faith.

  • Miguel de Luis Espinosa Reply

    I am 38, and even though my mental age could be closer to 12, I still like to read what you have to offer. What I’m trying to say it’s that I live to be challenged by new perspectives, so I want to read your vision and see what I can do with it.

    • Matt Reply

      @Miguel. Glad to have you here. Whether you’re 10 or 100 we can all learn a lot from one another. What makes (this) blog what it is are the varying perspectives from people of all walks of life. That’s exactly what I want, a ‘melting pot’ of ideas and innovative thinking that spans generations and demographics. Easier said than done, but that’s the ‘grand mission’ of Life Without Pants.

  • Miguel de Luis Espinosa Reply

    I am 38, and even though my mental age could be closer to 12, I still like to read what you have to offer. What I’m trying to say it’s that I live to be challenged by new perspectives, so I want to read your vision and see what I can do with it.

    • Matt Reply

      @Miguel. Glad to have you here. Whether you’re 10 or 100 we can all learn a lot from one another. What makes (this) blog what it is are the varying perspectives from people of all walks of life. That’s exactly what I want, a ‘melting pot’ of ideas and innovative thinking that spans generations and demographics. Easier said than done, but that’s the ‘grand mission’ of Life Without Pants.

  • Lisa Reply

    Matt, I enjoy visiting your blog because it is vastly different compared to a lot of the other blogs I read. You offer an interesting perspective on things– you have a perfect blend of philosophical discussions, real-life issues, gen-y discourse, and an overall sense of professionalism as well.

    I read tons of blogs on a daily basis and they are all extremely different. Some stick to a certain theme/identity, others are so random and unique. Some are very personal and really allow you to connect with the blogger and their day-to-day activities, while others just reiterate news or blog anonymously on certain topics. I benefit from reading each of them equally though.

    I think it is difficult to try and typecast yourself as a specific type of blogger–I’d imagine that it would cause you to limit your thoughts narrow down your audience, which may be something that you don’t want to do. However, I can tell you that I myself probably would have never stumbled across your blog had it not been for places like 20sb, Twitter, etc…you are attracting a wider audience than you realize.

    Keep doing what you are doing, change whatever you feel needs to be changed, and just continue to make *your* blog a place where you can share your thoughts/ideas– however you wish. :)

    • Matt Reply

      Thanks Lisa. Believe you-me, I know what got me to the race, it’s my Gen-Y roots and the Gen-Y community, without question. That being said, I’m continually surprised by how far my reach seems to be – even after only a few short months. Maybe it’s the work I’ve put into SEO for the blog, some of it can be attributed to me whoring myself out across the social web, and the rest has to go on you guys spreading the good word for me (which I greatly appreciate).

      I’ll keep doing what I do – writing about the things I’m passionate about (which will keep me interested) and making things relevant to the masses (keeping you interested). Cheers!

  • Lisa Reply

    Matt, I enjoy visiting your blog because it is vastly different compared to a lot of the other blogs I read. You offer an interesting perspective on things– you have a perfect blend of philosophical discussions, real-life issues, gen-y discourse, and an overall sense of professionalism as well.

    I read tons of blogs on a daily basis and they are all extremely different. Some stick to a certain theme/identity, others are so random and unique. Some are very personal and really allow you to connect with the blogger and their day-to-day activities, while others just reiterate news or blog anonymously on certain topics. I benefit from reading each of them equally though.

    I think it is difficult to try and typecast yourself as a specific type of blogger–I’d imagine that it would cause you to limit your thoughts narrow down your audience, which may be something that you don’t want to do. However, I can tell you that I myself probably would have never stumbled across your blog had it not been for places like 20sb, Twitter, etc…you are attracting a wider audience than you realize.

    Keep doing what you are doing, change whatever you feel needs to be changed, and just continue to make *your* blog a place where you can share your thoughts/ideas– however you wish. :)

    • Matt Reply

      Thanks Lisa. Believe you-me, I know what got me to the race, it’s my Gen-Y roots and the Gen-Y community, without question. That being said, I’m continually surprised by how far my reach seems to be – even after only a few short months. Maybe it’s the work I’ve put into SEO for the blog, some of it can be attributed to me whoring myself out across the social web, and the rest has to go on you guys spreading the good word for me (which I greatly appreciate).

      I’ll keep doing what I do – writing about the things I’m passionate about (which will keep me interested) and making things relevant to the masses (keeping you interested). Cheers!

  • Raven Reply

    Lots of interesting comments and questions being brought up. I find this an intriguing debate because it reminds me of my foray into blogging.

    Initially, I was told that my blog lacked focus and my name was misleading. I was also told that readers would be hard pressed to figure out what I was “all about.”

    That was last year. I’m still here…still blogging. I wasn’t concerned with labels because I didn’t have one to apply to myself. In a way, it’s very liberating…but it can be debilitating because writers (in general) find comfort in specificities. It’s easier to stick to what’s already known and applied to you instead of wearing the jacket unconformity.

    Similar to what’s already been said, blogging is different for everyone – as it should be. I think when you begin to question the flow (or reasons) too much, doubts begin to sink in – which affect your writing.

    • Matt Reply

      @Raven. I agree that you don’t want to spend all your time second-guessing yourself, but at the same time, every blog has some purpose – whether it be personal or as a benefit to a community of readers – we all signed up for WordPress/Blogger, sat down in front of our computers, and thought up our first blog post with some purpose in mind.

      That being said – as is unanimous here, that purpose can be different for everyone. And if you want to talk about interesting blog titles – look no further than Life Without Pants – but I like how it’s taken off and how the meaning has just been sort of ‘understood’ yet left open to interpretation. It works.

      Thanks for coming by Raven – we’re building a nice little network within a network of Chicago locals here!

  • Raven Reply

    Lots of interesting comments and questions being brought up. I find this an intriguing debate because it reminds me of my foray into blogging.

    Initially, I was told that my blog lacked focus and my name was misleading. I was also told that readers would be hard pressed to figure out what I was “all about.”

    That was last year. I’m still here…still blogging. I wasn’t concerned with labels because I didn’t have one to apply to myself. In a way, it’s very liberating…but it can be debilitating because writers (in general) find comfort in specificities. It’s easier to stick to what’s already known and applied to you instead of wearing the jacket unconformity.

    Similar to what’s already been said, blogging is different for everyone – as it should be. I think when you begin to question the flow (or reasons) too much, doubts begin to sink in – which affect your writing.

    • Matt Reply

      @Raven. I agree that you don’t want to spend all your time second-guessing yourself, but at the same time, every blog has some purpose – whether it be personal or as a benefit to a community of readers – we all signed up for WordPress/Blogger, sat down in front of our computers, and thought up our first blog post with some purpose in mind.

      That being said – as is unanimous here, that purpose can be different for everyone. And if you want to talk about interesting blog titles – look no further than Life Without Pants – but I like how it’s taken off and how the meaning has just been sort of ‘understood’ yet left open to interpretation. It works.

      Thanks for coming by Raven – we’re building a nice little network within a network of Chicago locals here!

  • Anita Lobo Reply

    Hi Matt,

    Interesting post and discussion you’ve kicked off here.

    My question to you is: are you building a company or a cafe?

    i.e. are you building a company that sells mass-produced products [Starbucks]

    or are you establishing Matt’s cafe thats unique because its one-of-a-kind, personal, the owner to talks to visitors;

    and everyone who visits wants/ buys good coffee [$’s there] , but also conversation and the sense of being connected with interesting people who share thought-provoking and fun stuff!

    We can’t run away from labels, its how we make the universe understandable.

    But the good bit is: we can choose, define and redefine our labels.

    The blog starts with you and how you relate to the community, and circles back to how the community relates back to you.

    Growth is symbiotic. As your content and connect grows, so will your blog/ community.

    So is it a company or Matt’s cafe?

    Cheers,

    Anita Lobo

    • Matt Reply

      @Anita. I love the analogy of Starbucks vs. a local cafe – and I am 100% siding with the latter. I’ve spoken about my value of community here many times, and that is apparent by the time I spend connecting with all of you. The foundation is in the people – the readers who take the time to read, comment, and share these posts with other people (without me asking them to). I’m thrilled with the cafe’ atmosphere – and honestly, I would rather Life Without Pants be known as an outstanding forum for discussion (whatever that may be) than being known as the ‘best’ marketing blog, best social media blog, etc.

      It’s people like YOU who keep me motivated to continue on this evolutionary path of blogging enlightenment.

  • Anita Lobo Reply

    Hi Matt,

    Interesting post and discussion you’ve kicked off here.

    My question to you is: are you building a company or a cafe?

    i.e. are you building a company that sells mass-produced products [Starbucks]

    or are you establishing Matt’s cafe thats unique because its one-of-a-kind, personal, the owner to talks to visitors;

    and everyone who visits wants/ buys good coffee [$’s there] , but also conversation and the sense of being connected with interesting people who share thought-provoking and fun stuff!

    We can’t run away from labels, its how we make the universe understandable.

    But the good bit is: we can choose, define and redefine our labels.

    The blog starts with you and how you relate to the community, and circles back to how the community relates back to you.

    Growth is symbiotic. As your content and connect grows, so will your blog/ community.

    So is it a company or Matt’s cafe?

    Cheers,

    Anita Lobo

    • Matt Reply

      @Anita. I love the analogy of Starbucks vs. a local cafe – and I am 100% siding with the latter. I’ve spoken about my value of community here many times, and that is apparent by the time I spend connecting with all of you. The foundation is in the people – the readers who take the time to read, comment, and share these posts with other people (without me asking them to). I’m thrilled with the cafe’ atmosphere – and honestly, I would rather Life Without Pants be known as an outstanding forum for discussion (whatever that may be) than being known as the ‘best’ marketing blog, best social media blog, etc.

      It’s people like YOU who keep me motivated to continue on this evolutionary path of blogging enlightenment.

  • Stuart Foster Reply

    Personal=Fun. Professional=Lucrative. Both=Win

    I’ll let you figure this one for yourself Matt. The key to blogging is a set path with room for constant meandering and exploration of different topics.

    • Matt Reply

      Really man? I was hoping you would just tell me what to do here.

      You’ve got the perfect formula down – and that’s what I’m trying to do, integrate the two into a beautiful masterpiece of professional wisdom with a personal touch. Easier said than done, but I think it’s something that both of us (meaning you and I) are doing quite well with.

  • Stuart Foster Reply

    Personal=Fun. Professional=Lucrative. Both=Win

    I’ll let you figure this one for yourself Matt. The key to blogging is a set path with room for constant meandering and exploration of different topics.

    • Matt Reply

      Really man? I was hoping you would just tell me what to do here.

      You’ve got the perfect formula down – and that’s what I’m trying to do, integrate the two into a beautiful masterpiece of professional wisdom with a personal touch. Easier said than done, but I think it’s something that both of us (meaning you and I) are doing quite well with.

  • Susan Pogorzelski Reply

    Matt –

    A great post that is sparking some interesting discussion. I think every blogger might go through an identity crisis at one point, wondering what they’re doing and if they’re doing it wrong, wondering what direction to take their blog and how to do so if their passions change. I think blogging is about discovery, and while you might start out with a set direction, that can branch off according to what you find out — about yourself, about your industry, about your goals.

    And that’s ok.

    My personal story: I started twenty(or)something as an outlet for myself to get through a really rough time. I needed to be writing again, to get out all of the emotions that were residing within me and figure my life out. Slowly, I began to incorporate creative works onto the site, grateful that I was following that passion again. But then that passion kept growing, and I realized that this blog wouldn’t be able to hold all of my ideas. I still wanted twenty(or)something because it was my personal outlet. I wasn’t done with it; I had come a long way, but I had a long way to go.

    So I started a new blog, a blog where a community of writers could grow, I could share my thoughts, offer inspiration and motivation, and share my creative writings.

    Two blogs, so different from each other, but still a part of me. Maybe one leads to another. Maybe you started Life Without Pants with a set goal, but those have shifted, changed. Go with your gut, go with your intuition, go with your passion. This space is yours.

    • Matt Reply

      @Susan. Wise words as always, I wouldn’t expect anything less from you. What I’m learning, and continue to learn, is that blogging really is an evolutionary process – more so than you would think from the outside looking in. You learn A LOT about yourself through your writing, and I’ve grown exponentially through the past 5 months – I’ve learned just how much you truly get when you give – when you put forth the effort into growing, developing, and nurturing an online community.

      So I’ll keep growing, I’ll keep evolving. My role in this, on the blog, and in life in general, doesn’t have to be clearly defined.

  • Susan Pogorzelski Reply

    Matt –

    A great post that is sparking some interesting discussion. I think every blogger might go through an identity crisis at one point, wondering what they’re doing and if they’re doing it wrong, wondering what direction to take their blog and how to do so if their passions change. I think blogging is about discovery, and while you might start out with a set direction, that can branch off according to what you find out — about yourself, about your industry, about your goals.

    And that’s ok.

    My personal story: I started twenty(or)something as an outlet for myself to get through a really rough time. I needed to be writing again, to get out all of the emotions that were residing within me and figure my life out. Slowly, I began to incorporate creative works onto the site, grateful that I was following that passion again. But then that passion kept growing, and I realized that this blog wouldn’t be able to hold all of my ideas. I still wanted twenty(or)something because it was my personal outlet. I wasn’t done with it; I had come a long way, but I had a long way to go.

    So I started a new blog, a blog where a community of writers could grow, I could share my thoughts, offer inspiration and motivation, and share my creative writings.

    Two blogs, so different from each other, but still a part of me. Maybe one leads to another. Maybe you started Life Without Pants with a set goal, but those have shifted, changed. Go with your gut, go with your intuition, go with your passion. This space is yours.

    • Matt Reply

      @Susan. Wise words as always, I wouldn’t expect anything less from you. What I’m learning, and continue to learn, is that blogging really is an evolutionary process – more so than you would think from the outside looking in. You learn A LOT about yourself through your writing, and I’ve grown exponentially through the past 5 months – I’ve learned just how much you truly get when you give – when you put forth the effort into growing, developing, and nurturing an online community.

      So I’ll keep growing, I’ll keep evolving. My role in this, on the blog, and in life in general, doesn’t have to be clearly defined.

  • Grace Reply

    Ah, such a good question. A question that any successful, smart blogger would ask themselves…

    I’ve seen some very specific bloggers, always maintain their identity and write about the same topic and then there are bloggers out there who write about what intrigues them. It’s their space after all. I also think that going beyond just writing about what intrigues them, what about trending topics that are pertinent to our world, culture and media? I know you have experience with these mediums and I would really love to hear more of that from you. In addition, you’re in a position to have some great stories to tell (job searching, relocating, etc.) I am excited to hear more about that.

    My general philosophy (just puttin’ it out there) is to write about what intrigues you and the broader scope of audience. Gen Y is very much pigeon holed. I think it’s very important to listen to your audience, but I’ve noticed the new readership I’ve gained hasn’t been all Gen Y and I like that. I think there’s a way to combine many facets of life, to interest many people. I’m excited to see how it unfolds for you. Thanks for pondering.

    • Matt Reply

      @Grace. It’s good to know I’m not alone in pondering my blog’s sense of direction – I think this really all came about when I was trying to explain my blog to non-web folk. You know how that goes, to many, a blog is still synonymous with a diary. When I try to explain my blog to someone on the outside looking in, I don’t really have a clear sense of what my blog is ‘about’. In short, my answer is usually ‘life’. The tag-line says it all: It’s about ‘everything and nothing’. And that’s all I can do to sum it up. I guess that non-linear focus had me worried, but after these conversations and thinking about it further – I think people have developed an understanding of what to expect from me and from this blog. And for new people, it doesn’t take long to see what this community is all about.

      That’s me thinking out loud Grace. All of this has my head spinning, but I think I finally have a (new found) sense of non-direction direction – keep doing what I’m doing and let the magic happen.

  • Grace Reply

    Ah, such a good question. A question that any successful, smart blogger would ask themselves…

    I’ve seen some very specific bloggers, always maintain their identity and write about the same topic and then there are bloggers out there who write about what intrigues them. It’s their space after all. I also think that going beyond just writing about what intrigues them, what about trending topics that are pertinent to our world, culture and media? I know you have experience with these mediums and I would really love to hear more of that from you. In addition, you’re in a position to have some great stories to tell (job searching, relocating, etc.) I am excited to hear more about that.

    My general philosophy (just puttin’ it out there) is to write about what intrigues you and the broader scope of audience. Gen Y is very much pigeon holed. I think it’s very important to listen to your audience, but I’ve noticed the new readership I’ve gained hasn’t been all Gen Y and I like that. I think there’s a way to combine many facets of life, to interest many people. I’m excited to see how it unfolds for you. Thanks for pondering.

    • Matt Reply

      @Grace. It’s good to know I’m not alone in pondering my blog’s sense of direction – I think this really all came about when I was trying to explain my blog to non-web folk. You know how that goes, to many, a blog is still synonymous with a diary. When I try to explain my blog to someone on the outside looking in, I don’t really have a clear sense of what my blog is ‘about’. In short, my answer is usually ‘life’. The tag-line says it all: It’s about ‘everything and nothing’. And that’s all I can do to sum it up. I guess that non-linear focus had me worried, but after these conversations and thinking about it further – I think people have developed an understanding of what to expect from me and from this blog. And for new people, it doesn’t take long to see what this community is all about.

      That’s me thinking out loud Grace. All of this has my head spinning, but I think I finally have a (new found) sense of non-direction direction – keep doing what I’m doing and let the magic happen.

  • JaymEsch Reply

    I also don’t fit your Gen Y category at 37- (Though I also don’t call myself Gen X, since I don’t share most of their views- due to my love of all things Prince I call myself part of his “New Power Generation”). I think quality writing trancends ages- even if you’re discussing an issue a 20-something deals with specifically, the younger crowd can ask questions and the older crowd can share their wisdom having gone through that timeframe.

    But focusing your blog is a massive challenge- I’m switching from my last attempt to a new, independant site so I have more design control, but I’m stuck because of the wide range of things I feel the need to cover- all of which don’t fit together.

    My last try I created 3 sections, one was for my own takes on issues designed to encourage discussion, the second was concerning creative writing, and the third was reserved for “fun” Internet memes and site links. (I also had a forth hidden site I hadn’t linked withdiscusdions of my use of Druidcraft Tarot and other Druidic Oracles.)

    I ended up lumping all of this under the main them of “creativity”… Which I still think works, and may go this route
    when I reopen. But does having multie sections take away readers? Someone only there for writing- will they simply find a site that is 100 percent writing? I don’t know- I never gained any followers to judge how this split model worked.

    Then came my other problem. I’m an active Democrat and see spin and lies from the right that I feel obligated to correct/report on- so suddenly my blog on “creativity” became hijacked by politics. Yet U hardly have funds to run one blog (never made a cent off one) so I hardly can have a second political blog at this time.

    This topic is dead on to my current stuck-in-a-rut issues with getting back up and going! I don’t really know how to pick just one of those topics and ignore the others!

    Who said the life (or potential life) of a blogger is easy? =P

    • JaymEsch Reply

      (Pardon typos- I’m on my iPod Touch and it just finds great enjoyment in but hering my normmaly perfect spelling and grammar!)

    • Matt Reply

      I honestly think that if you can streamline everything together, you’ll ultimately be the most effective. Judging from personal experience, when you start to manage multiple blogs (or even dramatically different genres within one blog) you lose your focus, you become disoriented and there’s no way to maintain that true commitment to one endeavor.

      Look at what I’m doing over at http://www.designnoob.lifewithoutpants.com – I just launched and already my mind is completely caught up over there, so much so that I’m wondering what I’m going to do next here!

      This is a ‘side project’ that won’t be an forever running second blog so I’m not concerned with losing focus, but rather shifting my focus while doing everything I can to remain very active here.

      A long winded response but in short, my expert advice: do your best to streamline everything into one.

  • JaymEsch Reply

    I also don’t fit your Gen Y category at 37- (Though I also don’t call myself Gen X, since I don’t share most of their views- due to my love of all things Prince I call myself part of his “New Power Generation”). I think quality writing trancends ages- even if you’re discussing an issue a 20-something deals with specifically, the younger crowd can ask questions and the older crowd can share their wisdom having gone through that timeframe.

    But focusing your blog is a massive challenge- I’m switching from my last attempt to a new, independant site so I have more design control, but I’m stuck because of the wide range of things I feel the need to cover- all of which don’t fit together.

    My last try I created 3 sections, one was for my own takes on issues designed to encourage discussion, the second was concerning creative writing, and the third was reserved for “fun” Internet memes and site links. (I also had a forth hidden site I hadn’t linked withdiscusdions of my use of Druidcraft Tarot and other Druidic Oracles.)

    I ended up lumping all of this under the main them of “creativity”… Which I still think works, and may go this route
    when I reopen. But does having multie sections take away readers? Someone only there for writing- will they simply find a site that is 100 percent writing? I don’t know- I never gained any followers to judge how this split model worked.

    Then came my other problem. I’m an active Democrat and see spin and lies from the right that I feel obligated to correct/report on- so suddenly my blog on “creativity” became hijacked by politics. Yet U hardly have funds to run one blog (never made a cent off one) so I hardly can have a second political blog at this time.

    This topic is dead on to my current stuck-in-a-rut issues with getting back up and going! I don’t really know how to pick just one of those topics and ignore the others!

    Who said the life (or potential life) of a blogger is easy? =P

    • JaymEsch Reply

      (Pardon typos- I’m on my iPod Touch and it just finds great enjoyment in but hering my normmaly perfect spelling and grammar!)

    • Matt Reply

      I honestly think that if you can streamline everything together, you’ll ultimately be the most effective. Judging from personal experience, when you start to manage multiple blogs (or even dramatically different genres within one blog) you lose your focus, you become disoriented and there’s no way to maintain that true commitment to one endeavor.

      Look at what I’m doing over at http://www.designnoob.lifewithoutpants.com – I just launched and already my mind is completely caught up over there, so much so that I’m wondering what I’m going to do next here!

      This is a ‘side project’ that won’t be an forever running second blog so I’m not concerned with losing focus, but rather shifting my focus while doing everything I can to remain very active here.

      A long winded response but in short, my expert advice: do your best to streamline everything into one.

  • Jackie Reply

    I think that if someone is blogging for the fame and fortune, then they’re probably going to quit pretty soon, because people who do that through a blog are few and far between.

    I think that in finding a theme for your blog there’s definitely a trade off inherent in a broader topic and more precise theme. Broader will more accurately reflect all of your interests, but may generate less conversation because some readers aren’t as passionate about the area as you are. A narrower topic definitely gives off a vibe to the reader that you consider yourself very passionate and an expert in that area.

    Although I think most people ideally want to blog about broader topics, unfortunately they’re held back by that trade off. You may even consider creating different sections for your blog for some of your less “relevant” posts so people can still see your thoughts in other areas if they wish, but you’re not forcing them to.

    • Matt Reply

      @Jackie. I’m hesitant about creating separate ‘sections’ – mostly because I don’t want to ‘segregate’ my readers. I make everything available to everyone because I am honestly a believer that you may come here with the mindset of ‘I’ll never get anything out of this’ only to find that said post actually really hit home for you. You never know when inspiration will strike and a post will spark a new thought from within.

      RE: Your point on fame and fortune – I don’t think many start a blog with the specific goal to ‘get rich and famous’ – but would you agree that we’re all after some level of fame? We all want more readers, more recognition, more respect within our community? At the core, is blogging inherently vain?

      That might be an entirely separate blog post in it’s own right, but I’m interested in your thoughts.

      • Jackie Reply

        I can understand your hesitation about having separate sections, just figured I’d toss it out there.

        RE: Fame and fortune. Deep down, that’s definitely what everyone wants, which is why we all keep tabs on our stats like a I-banker keeps tabs on the stock market. This also sort of gives you an idea of how well you’re doing, assuming that there is a correlation between your last post and the # of visitors.

        After all, we start a blog often to give ourselves a voice, thinking we have something valuable to say, so I’d agree that it is inherently pretty vain.

        • Matt Reply

          I agree – It’s a pretty vain endeavor (not that, in most cases, it’s a bad thing). As far as measuring success – it’s very hard to not measure in numbers. We say that page-views, comments, and trackback links don’t really matter, but they do. most of us can attest to looking at our Analytics page daily, we measure the ‘success’ of a post based on the number of views and comments it receives. Is there anything wrong with that? Big numbers usually mean we’re doing something right, so is it so wrong to measure success in numbers? (Hold that thought – new post coming soon).

  • Jackie Reply

    I think that if someone is blogging for the fame and fortune, then they’re probably going to quit pretty soon, because people who do that through a blog are few and far between.

    I think that in finding a theme for your blog there’s definitely a trade off inherent in a broader topic and more precise theme. Broader will more accurately reflect all of your interests, but may generate less conversation because some readers aren’t as passionate about the area as you are. A narrower topic definitely gives off a vibe to the reader that you consider yourself very passionate and an expert in that area.

    Although I think most people ideally want to blog about broader topics, unfortunately they’re held back by that trade off. You may even consider creating different sections for your blog for some of your less “relevant” posts so people can still see your thoughts in other areas if they wish, but you’re not forcing them to.

    • Matt Reply

      @Jackie. I’m hesitant about creating separate ‘sections’ – mostly because I don’t want to ‘segregate’ my readers. I make everything available to everyone because I am honestly a believer that you may come here with the mindset of ‘I’ll never get anything out of this’ only to find that said post actually really hit home for you. You never know when inspiration will strike and a post will spark a new thought from within.

      RE: Your point on fame and fortune – I don’t think many start a blog with the specific goal to ‘get rich and famous’ – but would you agree that we’re all after some level of fame? We all want more readers, more recognition, more respect within our community? At the core, is blogging inherently vain?

      That might be an entirely separate blog post in it’s own right, but I’m interested in your thoughts.

      • Jackie Reply

        I can understand your hesitation about having separate sections, just figured I’d toss it out there.

        RE: Fame and fortune. Deep down, that’s definitely what everyone wants, which is why we all keep tabs on our stats like a I-banker keeps tabs on the stock market. This also sort of gives you an idea of how well you’re doing, assuming that there is a correlation between your last post and the # of visitors.

        After all, we start a blog often to give ourselves a voice, thinking we have something valuable to say, so I’d agree that it is inherently pretty vain.

        • Matt Reply

          I agree – It’s a pretty vain endeavor (not that, in most cases, it’s a bad thing). As far as measuring success – it’s very hard to not measure in numbers. We say that page-views, comments, and trackback links don’t really matter, but they do. most of us can attest to looking at our Analytics page daily, we measure the ‘success’ of a post based on the number of views and comments it receives. Is there anything wrong with that? Big numbers usually mean we’re doing something right, so is it so wrong to measure success in numbers? (Hold that thought – new post coming soon).

  • Harold Shaw Reply

    Matt – I am a 52 year old baby boomer – tail ender, so I don’t fit your typical profile of readers – I am an old fart, but I enjoy the passion and vitality your writing brings to this blog. I read too many blogs that are boring, re-hash each other’s work, or simply provide me a different view than I generally have on the world (I like to see the other side sometimes – I may not agree, but it tells me things I would get otherwise).

    What makes yours different is that passion you bring, so don’t loose that.

    But I have some questions for you…what do you really want back from this blog? Are you looking to make money or is this a personal blog? Are you looking to fill a niche or are you wanting to keep it broad, so you can comment on things that actually interest you?

    I guess you have to answer for yourself, what is your goal? It has to be yours, asking others for suggestions is a great idea and has promoted a lot of great from others, but in the final analysis this blog will be what you want it to be, which is the way it should be. :)

    I just went through this and decided to let my blog be me – a bit scattered, something that covers things that interest me, but is my personal view on the world. If others read it they get to know who I am a lot better and what my thoughts/interests are. There is not real direction or focus for my blog other than the tagline – it is “My Thoughts”.

    But you may have a much different goals for this blog, whatever direction you choose, I have a sneaking suspicion it will continue to grow, because of the passion you share with us in your writing. I know that I will continue to read it, (gotta keep thinking I am still in my 20’s).

    Keep up the good work Matt.

    Harold

    • Matt Reply

      @Harold. Thanks as always for coming by. Having a readership community of people from varying backgrounds and demographics is really important to me. To answer your question, Life Without Pants isn’t a money-making scheme. Would I like it to draw in some revenue? Of course, in a more indirect sense (leading to writing, speaking, and consulting opportunities).

      But this wasn’t my motivation for starting the blog and isn’t my motivation moving forward. Ultimately, it comes down to collective learning. I feel like I am a pretty smart dude, so my opinion is something that people will value. But my passion lies in learning and growing as an individual myself. Continuing to evolve and develop, and I think this evolution is and will become apparent in my writing over time.

      Leaving these conversations I’ve developed a new found sense of direction and purpose. For that, I think you Harold. Much appreciated.

  • Harold Shaw Reply

    Matt – I am a 52 year old baby boomer – tail ender, so I don’t fit your typical profile of readers – I am an old fart, but I enjoy the passion and vitality your writing brings to this blog. I read too many blogs that are boring, re-hash each other’s work, or simply provide me a different view than I generally have on the world (I like to see the other side sometimes – I may not agree, but it tells me things I would get otherwise).

    What makes yours different is that passion you bring, so don’t loose that.

    But I have some questions for you…what do you really want back from this blog? Are you looking to make money or is this a personal blog? Are you looking to fill a niche or are you wanting to keep it broad, so you can comment on things that actually interest you?

    I guess you have to answer for yourself, what is your goal? It has to be yours, asking others for suggestions is a great idea and has promoted a lot of great from others, but in the final analysis this blog will be what you want it to be, which is the way it should be. :)

    I just went through this and decided to let my blog be me – a bit scattered, something that covers things that interest me, but is my personal view on the world. If others read it they get to know who I am a lot better and what my thoughts/interests are. There is not real direction or focus for my blog other than the tagline – it is “My Thoughts”.

    But you may have a much different goals for this blog, whatever direction you choose, I have a sneaking suspicion it will continue to grow, because of the passion you share with us in your writing. I know that I will continue to read it, (gotta keep thinking I am still in my 20’s).

    Keep up the good work Matt.

    Harold

    • Matt Reply

      @Harold. Thanks as always for coming by. Having a readership community of people from varying backgrounds and demographics is really important to me. To answer your question, Life Without Pants isn’t a money-making scheme. Would I like it to draw in some revenue? Of course, in a more indirect sense (leading to writing, speaking, and consulting opportunities).

      But this wasn’t my motivation for starting the blog and isn’t my motivation moving forward. Ultimately, it comes down to collective learning. I feel like I am a pretty smart dude, so my opinion is something that people will value. But my passion lies in learning and growing as an individual myself. Continuing to evolve and develop, and I think this evolution is and will become apparent in my writing over time.

      Leaving these conversations I’ve developed a new found sense of direction and purpose. For that, I think you Harold. Much appreciated.

  • Carlos Miceli Reply

    You’ve done it again my friend. Interesting discussions a-plenty in LWP.

    No, I don’t believe broader is good nowadays in the blogging world. I’m not saying you should blog about an ultra-super-specific topic (like, writing about elevator buttons), but you do have to maintain a certain path. I enjoy predicting what’s in my reader, there’s a reason I subscribed to those blogs in the first place. Aiming for different generations may be a mistake too, since what can lure some new readers might repel your previous ones.

    I define my blog. I’m all for listening to your “audience”, but that doesn’t have to be in an open way. I’ve been listening to the people I felt close to for a long way, but once I started, my blog is what I think it should be. Only when the “market” changes and you lose “share” without understanding the reason, you should open your “product” to public criticism again.

    I don’t think there are THAT many different goals when it comes to blogging. There’s no universal point, but there are some ideas that many bloggers share. And I think is self-centered in every case. We all do it for some personal reason, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In my case (and I think in yours too), I blog to put my name out there, to enhance my personal brand, to say something about me, to be somebody in the online world. And yes, besides the writing, designing and many other skills that one can learn from blogging, I also expect this to help in my offline life as well. In fact, it already has done it.

    Good stuff Matt, and to be completely honest, I’m not worried about you at all. You’ll know what to do, you always do.

    • Matt Reply

      @Carlos. I like the way you think here (as usual – I think we were brothers in another life). My only reservation is in becoming TOO predictable. There is a fine line between writing what people have grown to like and writing a post that is entirely predictable. What’s the point of reading if I know how it’s going to end. You want to be known for something but not so much so that your opinion is already known before you give it.

      To your other point, is blogging universally self-centered? I think so. Vain is a strong word, but we all sign up to start a blog with the intent of having SOMEONE read it. If that wasn’t a goal, we would keep a diary and wouldn’t share it with anyone. As you said, there’s nothing wrong with that at all (unless you’re totally abusing the self-centerdness and making a blog all about you) – We use a blog to make a name for ourselves, and in my case, to potentially lead to other projects, work, etc.

      I’m not worried either Carlos. I’m good at figuring things out for myself, and when I’m not, I have people like you here to help me out.

  • Carlos Miceli Reply

    You’ve done it again my friend. Interesting discussions a-plenty in LWP.

    No, I don’t believe broader is good nowadays in the blogging world. I’m not saying you should blog about an ultra-super-specific topic (like, writing about elevator buttons), but you do have to maintain a certain path. I enjoy predicting what’s in my reader, there’s a reason I subscribed to those blogs in the first place. Aiming for different generations may be a mistake too, since what can lure some new readers might repel your previous ones.

    I define my blog. I’m all for listening to your “audience”, but that doesn’t have to be in an open way. I’ve been listening to the people I felt close to for a long way, but once I started, my blog is what I think it should be. Only when the “market” changes and you lose “share” without understanding the reason, you should open your “product” to public criticism again.

    I don’t think there are THAT many different goals when it comes to blogging. There’s no universal point, but there are some ideas that many bloggers share. And I think is self-centered in every case. We all do it for some personal reason, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In my case (and I think in yours too), I blog to put my name out there, to enhance my personal brand, to say something about me, to be somebody in the online world. And yes, besides the writing, designing and many other skills that one can learn from blogging, I also expect this to help in my offline life as well. In fact, it already has done it.

    Good stuff Matt, and to be completely honest, I’m not worried about you at all. You’ll know what to do, you always do.

    • Matt Reply

      @Carlos. I like the way you think here (as usual – I think we were brothers in another life). My only reservation is in becoming TOO predictable. There is a fine line between writing what people have grown to like and writing a post that is entirely predictable. What’s the point of reading if I know how it’s going to end. You want to be known for something but not so much so that your opinion is already known before you give it.

      To your other point, is blogging universally self-centered? I think so. Vain is a strong word, but we all sign up to start a blog with the intent of having SOMEONE read it. If that wasn’t a goal, we would keep a diary and wouldn’t share it with anyone. As you said, there’s nothing wrong with that at all (unless you’re totally abusing the self-centerdness and making a blog all about you) – We use a blog to make a name for ourselves, and in my case, to potentially lead to other projects, work, etc.

      I’m not worried either Carlos. I’m good at figuring things out for myself, and when I’m not, I have people like you here to help me out.

  • Sam Reply

    Matt: I too have had moments of doubt when I question where my blog is now, and where I want it to go in the future. The way you responded to Grace’s comment, about how you describe your blog to others…that’s pretty much how I describe mine. It’s about life, and although that broad term might seem scary at times, it’s also pretty great. I don’t want to limit myself because I think I would lose some of my authenticity that way.

    As corny as the concept behind my blog may be (I know your sentiments on Forest Gump), life really is like a giant box of chocolates. We have all kinds of different experiences, some we expect and some we don’t. At times we can predict the outcome, but not always. I like writing about a variety of topics. Everything comes from the same box, but each post has its own flavor…okay, enough with the chocolate analogy. I write some pretty personal stuff, but I also write fun posts like [Sam]antics, and I recently wrote a couple of more educational posts. This variety gives my blog a unique personality.

    You are a great writer, and what you’ve created here at LWP is pretty amazing. My best advice is to keep writing from the heart. If you get to a point when it’s not rewarding or fulfilling to you personally anymore, then it’s definitely time to re-evaluate. Don’t just change because you think you should. That’s my two cents. Great post as always!

    • Matt Reply

      @Sam. Life’s Chocolates is about life, maybe even more so than what I have going here. Your blog has always been a refreshing ‘break’ from all the social-media-public-relations-twitter-strategy-web-marketing talk we see time and time again from the people of our generation. So with that, I think you’ve found a niche, and I love what you’ve been doing recently, incorporating more ‘technical’ blog topics (such as your most recent regarding proofreading/blogging credibility).

      We’re all developing and evolving – blogging is a lot of learning-on-the-fly. And that’s what makes it so intriguing, that not knowing of what tomorrow will bring, always wondering what to try next. Happy to be going through this RE(volutionary) process with you and everyone else here.

  • Sam Reply

    Matt: I too have had moments of doubt when I question where my blog is now, and where I want it to go in the future. The way you responded to Grace’s comment, about how you describe your blog to others…that’s pretty much how I describe mine. It’s about life, and although that broad term might seem scary at times, it’s also pretty great. I don’t want to limit myself because I think I would lose some of my authenticity that way.

    As corny as the concept behind my blog may be (I know your sentiments on Forest Gump), life really is like a giant box of chocolates. We have all kinds of different experiences, some we expect and some we don’t. At times we can predict the outcome, but not always. I like writing about a variety of topics. Everything comes from the same box, but each post has its own flavor…okay, enough with the chocolate analogy. I write some pretty personal stuff, but I also write fun posts like [Sam]antics, and I recently wrote a couple of more educational posts. This variety gives my blog a unique personality.

    You are a great writer, and what you’ve created here at LWP is pretty amazing. My best advice is to keep writing from the heart. If you get to a point when it’s not rewarding or fulfilling to you personally anymore, then it’s definitely time to re-evaluate. Don’t just change because you think you should. That’s my two cents. Great post as always!

    • Matt Reply

      @Sam. Life’s Chocolates is about life, maybe even more so than what I have going here. Your blog has always been a refreshing ‘break’ from all the social-media-public-relations-twitter-strategy-web-marketing talk we see time and time again from the people of our generation. So with that, I think you’ve found a niche, and I love what you’ve been doing recently, incorporating more ‘technical’ blog topics (such as your most recent regarding proofreading/blogging credibility).

      We’re all developing and evolving – blogging is a lot of learning-on-the-fly. And that’s what makes it so intriguing, that not knowing of what tomorrow will bring, always wondering what to try next. Happy to be going through this RE(volutionary) process with you and everyone else here.

  • Elisa Reply

    Well, it’s not really a surprise that I love your blog (:)) but let me expound a little more on why. I think your variety of topics is actually what makes your blog so appealing to a larger audience of people. Your readers can relate to the different facets of the blog because you focus on others rather than yourself. One of the greatest things that brought exposure to your blog (in my opinion) was the Inconvenience of Change, which was all about different Gen Y perspectives on a very broad topic. Your niche is your ability to cultivate community and build relationships. Why not build off of that and continue your personal brand as the person who will help people market and grow thru social media because you are a Gen Y individual who can bring together people from all walks because you are a great community organizer. You can be like the Obama of bloggers. :)

    • Matt Reply

      Elisa. The Obama of bloggers? LOL, wow, I think I want to include that in my online profiles everywhere – it’s going on my Twitter profile, well worth being included in the 160 comment description of myself, lol. Can I go ahead and copyright that?

      Matt Cheuvront. The Obama of Bloggers!

      In all seriousness, I do my best to keep things interesting by not becoming too narrow in my focus. I think I’m making a name for myself – but not labeling who I am, if that makes any sense. Thanks for the comment, I can always count on you to add a ton to every conversation here.

  • Elisa Reply

    Well, it’s not really a surprise that I love your blog (:)) but let me expound a little more on why. I think your variety of topics is actually what makes your blog so appealing to a larger audience of people. Your readers can relate to the different facets of the blog because you focus on others rather than yourself. One of the greatest things that brought exposure to your blog (in my opinion) was the Inconvenience of Change, which was all about different Gen Y perspectives on a very broad topic. Your niche is your ability to cultivate community and build relationships. Why not build off of that and continue your personal brand as the person who will help people market and grow thru social media because you are a Gen Y individual who can bring together people from all walks because you are a great community organizer. You can be like the Obama of bloggers. :)

    • Matt Reply

      Elisa. The Obama of bloggers? LOL, wow, I think I want to include that in my online profiles everywhere – it’s going on my Twitter profile, well worth being included in the 160 comment description of myself, lol. Can I go ahead and copyright that?

      Matt Cheuvront. The Obama of Bloggers!

      In all seriousness, I do my best to keep things interesting by not becoming too narrow in my focus. I think I’m making a name for myself – but not labeling who I am, if that makes any sense. Thanks for the comment, I can always count on you to add a ton to every conversation here.

  • SarahJLWest Reply

    Hey! Nice post Matt…. I took myself off the web to think about this for 3 months – well done for only taking days ;-)

    I started my first blog with no intention for people to actually read it – it was a tool to make myself read more and keep in touch with current affairs – I am the kind of person that without an outlet I don’t bother….then some people started to read….then some more…and gradually I got more involved with the ‘online community’.

    This however left me frustrated… I had pigeon holed myself way too early. I had a lot more to say and no where to say it…but I was trapped in a dilemma where I wasn’t sure whether blogging in my own name was too arrogant and self-centred….that is when I took myself off the web to think about it…

    I decided that fundamentally as I still did not care too much if people read my blog or not that I would go for it for the sake of freedom of writing… this has meant that in the similar vein f the first blog – I am reading a lot more and interacting…which makes me happy!

    Anyway that is my story – a little rambling I know but for me:
    1. Above all, I don’t care if anyone reads my blog – its for me. (Therefore – you should write about what you want and not care about pigeon holing yourself or not…)
    2. BUT I love interacting, meeting new people and learning – my blog lets me to that… (and so does yours, if u limit u might meet less people…)
    3. In the end, if people DO read and DO comment – it is a massive buzz….that keeps me going as well :-)

    Wow…I didn’t really intend to write that much but there u go!

    • Matt Reply

      @Sarah. Great to have you here! 3 months without the web? As sick as it sounds, I cant even imagine (this shows how truly dependent I’ve become).

      I know ALL TOO WELL the concept of ‘pigeon holing’ early on. I’ve had several blogging endeavors in the past and each one became too narrowly focused way too soon. I got to the point where I didn’t know how to incorporate all of my (random) thoughts into concise posts that made sense. I think that’s part of the reason I came up with a blog title as ridiculous as ‘Life Without Pants’ – because it encompassed the randomness of my own mind. Yes, it’s still become somewhat pigeon-holed – people know what to expect from me. But I continue to reinvent myself (my ‘design’ blog I just launched, the Inconvenience of Change series, etc.) I try to spice things up and keep things interesting – so I don’t turn into ‘just another Gen-Y know it all’.

      Ultimately, as you said, you write for yourself – I don’t write about things I claim to be an expert about, I write about things I’m interested in and want to learn more about. And you write to meet new people, build connections, generate a buzz, get people talking and interacting.

      Always great talking with you Sarah!

  • SarahJLWest Reply

    Hey! Nice post Matt…. I took myself off the web to think about this for 3 months – well done for only taking days ;-)

    I started my first blog with no intention for people to actually read it – it was a tool to make myself read more and keep in touch with current affairs – I am the kind of person that without an outlet I don’t bother….then some people started to read….then some more…and gradually I got more involved with the ‘online community’.

    This however left me frustrated… I had pigeon holed myself way too early. I had a lot more to say and no where to say it…but I was trapped in a dilemma where I wasn’t sure whether blogging in my own name was too arrogant and self-centred….that is when I took myself off the web to think about it…

    I decided that fundamentally as I still did not care too much if people read my blog or not that I would go for it for the sake of freedom of writing… this has meant that in the similar vein f the first blog – I am reading a lot more and interacting…which makes me happy!

    Anyway that is my story – a little rambling I know but for me:
    1. Above all, I don’t care if anyone reads my blog – its for me. (Therefore – you should write about what you want and not care about pigeon holing yourself or not…)
    2. BUT I love interacting, meeting new people and learning – my blog lets me to that… (and so does yours, if u limit u might meet less people…)
    3. In the end, if people DO read and DO comment – it is a massive buzz….that keeps me going as well :-)

    Wow…I didn’t really intend to write that much but there u go!

    • Matt Reply

      @Sarah. Great to have you here! 3 months without the web? As sick as it sounds, I cant even imagine (this shows how truly dependent I’ve become).

      I know ALL TOO WELL the concept of ‘pigeon holing’ early on. I’ve had several blogging endeavors in the past and each one became too narrowly focused way too soon. I got to the point where I didn’t know how to incorporate all of my (random) thoughts into concise posts that made sense. I think that’s part of the reason I came up with a blog title as ridiculous as ‘Life Without Pants’ – because it encompassed the randomness of my own mind. Yes, it’s still become somewhat pigeon-holed – people know what to expect from me. But I continue to reinvent myself (my ‘design’ blog I just launched, the Inconvenience of Change series, etc.) I try to spice things up and keep things interesting – so I don’t turn into ‘just another Gen-Y know it all’.

      Ultimately, as you said, you write for yourself – I don’t write about things I claim to be an expert about, I write about things I’m interested in and want to learn more about. And you write to meet new people, build connections, generate a buzz, get people talking and interacting.

      Always great talking with you Sarah!

  • Fraud Investigation Services Reply

    Well, putting identity on the cyberspace should be taken cautiously.nWho knows maybe someone is using your face.

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