The world of blogging is a fascinating one, because it straddles the world of the individual and the world of the professional. In the past, if you wanted to write and be read beyond your closest friends and family, you had to pass through gatekeepers: editors, publishers, and marketing types.
But today, if you want to read and be read, all you need is a free WordPress account, or even just post to Facebook or Twitter. On the other hand, journalism and professional trade writing has been changing as well. Most of us who wrote for print are now writing online. When we wrote for print, we were often called "journalists". Today, because we write online, we're called "bloggers".
Blog posts by the 15-year-old kid sharing her angst about the boy who won't call her back and the 55-year-old technology commentator sharing his angst about the Apple rep who won't email him back are surprisingly similar.
But beyond angst, whining, and random opinion is the world of the successful, professional blogger.
Successful, professional bloggers (like those of us who write for ZDNet) are different, because we write to make at least part of our living, we're incredibly fortunate because we make real money at it, and we have a tougher job, because doing this is actually a job. We have professional standards to meet, team coordination required, and self-control to practice. In return, we have a broad reach and a magnified voice.
But what does it take to be a professional blogger?
How do we each approach this very ill-defined task? How do we manage our time? What tools do we use? How do we deal with conflicts? How do we improve our chances of further success? How did we get here to begin with?
These are the questions I've set out to answer in my new Better Know a Blogger series. My goal is to regularly interview ZDNet's bloggers (along with a few other folks you might find interesting) and help you get to know these people at a level you've never been able to before.
You regularly read our work output, but who are we? Where do we work? What do we care about? Why do we do it? In this series, you'll find out.
My long-time friend and colleague Jason Perlow, of ZDNet's Tech Broiler was the first to sit under the hot lights of Skype for an in-depth interview. Here's what he had to say:
I've decided that rather than choosing the next blogger in the series myself, it'd be fun if the person I've just featured chooses the next blogger to be featured. Jason has chosen. Stay tuned and you'll learn who it will be.