A great article on weblogs/RSS on how and why to start a weblog, much of which can apply to the library community:
“Blogging offers the opportunity for people to tell the world what’s on their minds, to share their passions, or to simply inform them of current events-no matter how uniquely focused. Or to tell them what’s going on in their business. A blog is a hybrid e- zine/newsletter that keeps you and your contacts in touch with each other.”
“Blogs have the ultimate opt-in audience”
“Thanks to the news aggregators, blogs are available to a staggering number of potential readers. Your task-at least initially-is to see to it that your current and potential customers have news aggregators, and that they have your blog listed in them.”
“When they see that you’ve updated your blog, you can have a high degree of confidence that they’re going to read what you’ve written, because they voluntarily subscribed to your news feed. As I said earlier, they will very likely be glad to hear from you.”
“[i]t’s very likely that if you begin to post worthwhile content to your blog, the word will get around. This is indeed the case where “if you blog it, they will come.” But then it’s your job to keep them coming back with high-quality content.”
“Once you’ve attracted a following, people will begin to seek out your blog for your expert advice and commentary. Your blog will become the go-to source for timely information about your area of expertise. And it will be only a matter of time before people will be compelled to drill down into your sales page, or go to your sales site to buy your product.”
Sorry to have Jenny-sized this post, but those quotes were well worth being re-posted. I’ve droned on and on why weblogs can be good for libraries and librarians in all fields (academic, public, corporate, etc) and this article brings the point home: Marketing. Librarians historically have done a terrible job of marketing ourselves (I had this exact conversation with a close friend last week on the phone) and I think that weblogs are a great way to get our ideas, new programs, news (and much more) out to our public, management, and clientele. Ease of use is key: anyone can blog. No “techie-in-the-building” is needed. Just some creativity, and some marketing savvy.