‘Topic Times Voice’, or, if you’re a little bit more of a ‘Obsession Times Voice’.
Notable bloggers John Gruber andMerlin Mann expounded on this theory in a presentation they gave at this year’s SxSW conference in Austin, Texas.
Their presentation was broadly about blogging as micro self-publishing. Their principle theme was the importance of owning your topic. To expand Merlin’s quote above. Without obsession your blog will tend to wander. Without their own individual voices all too many blogs fall back on repeating other content from web.
His argument is that if you have obsession without voice, then all you basically have is a keyword search. You have reblogging without curation. Conversely if you have voice without an obsession then you get the equivalent of the more pointless content people post on Twitter (what they had for lunch).
Mann and Gruber both stress the importance for bloggers of figuring out where you are, whatever it is that you want do and whatever outcome is the most important to you. They see the platform of personal publishing via blogging as the lever to become really great, becoming “the go-to person for whatever topic you are obsessed with”.
They argue that you need to set yourself ambitious goals, aiming to be in the top twenty percentile. “Whatever your topic is, try to figure how to be better at it than 80% of everybody else in the world. I think that’s very ambitious, and you know what, you probably won’t be. Right?”
You can download the complete audio recording of their presentation here.