For the last four years, I've participated in Michelle Rafter's blogathon. She started with a small group of FreelanceSuccess.com writers and authors. Maybe there were 30 of us. It's since grown beyond that--to more than 200 bloggers this year. There's good reason for the growth.
Every year, this event gives new bloggers a chance to learn why they're doing this, and it gives us veterans the opportunity to pick up yet another new or better way to blog and increase audience numbers. I don't always want to spend my time learning new technologies, because, well, in reality I'm a luddite. I'd rather not have to do technology. But I'm smart enough to know that living in the world we do now, it's necessary. So I acquiesce by doing it on my own time frame, that is, when I'm ready. That attitude probably doesn't serve me well, but it's my inner rebel at work, and she's a handful sometimes. The good girl inside of me avoids conflict by letting that girl have her way.
That being said, I particpate in this blogathon because, aside from the fact that it is a lot of fun, my smarter side knows I'm going to learn something new that I can apply to my blog, whether I think I want to or not. This year, yesterday, in fact, I learned about Feedburner. It's not that I wasn't aware of this feature before, it's just that I thought I had it already and just didn't know how to use it. I did, after all, have the Plug-in that allowed you to subscribe to my blog. I just never took the time to figure out why it didn't work for me the way it worked for others, in terms of tracking subscribers. I had no idea where to find that information. And I didn't really want to ask, because then someone would tell me, and I'd have to act on it.
This year I decided it was time, and I popped the question. Sure enough! I got my answer. It only took a few minutes to search the Internet for the information I needed and apply what I'd learned. I'm not sure if this has interfered with my previous subscribers, as I believe I have changed the URL to my feed, but we'll see.
Nonetheless, this blogathon gives me the confidence I need to act on what I'm learning. That's why I keep coming back. It's never going to be the same old, same old, because there are always more of us who show up, there are always new voices involved, and there is always something new to learn. That's what keeps bringing me back.
As we near the end of the 2011 WordCount Blogathon, I'm ready to move on and take what I've learned with me into the rest of the year. It may sound silly, but I'll now have the ability to track the numbers of subscribers I have here at B.I.K.E WITH JACKIE. I haven't been able to do that until now. So that's another hurdle I've jumped. Next year I'll be back. And I'll be ready to learn another new--or old--trick.
So let me ask you: What have you taken away this year that you might not have learned without our blogging community working together? And while you're thinking about that, consider going to the top of my page here and adding your email address. You can now subscribe to my updates by email. How's that for something new?