Just watched Gary Vaynerchuck, Kevin Rose, and Jesse Jacobs talk tea and wine at http://leafboxtea.com, and I want to take a different tack than I normally do. There was plenty about different teas and how to prepare them, as well as wine (that's what Garyvee does after all), but at the very end they talked about tips dealing with social media and getting a product/idea out there.
The thing that's often said is 'scratch your own itch', which is something I take really seriously here. The whole prospect of this teablog lark was set in motion because I kept seeing people on twitter obsessed with tea like I was. I thought if I documented what I was learning, it'd be interesting to someone other than just me. At first I was daunted by how little I actually knew about tea, but eventually decided I'd let that be a plus. I'd be really upfront that my knowledge was limited and the blog was a record of my search.
I was obsessed about numbers of visitors to a degree, and I still gauge how much people enjoyed the post by how many people comment on it. Rationally, I know people read the blog without ever saying anything, but I still judge my performance by reaction. I really do.
But here's what I liked most about what was said at the very end of the video: 'be part of the community.'
I used to write my blog and make snarky comments at twitter about anything but tea. I'd make a teanote at steepster.com, and see what was said at leafboxtea. Might even go read a wikipedia page about a tea I didn't know about. But I believe this really started to work for me when I read other blogs. Mostly teablogs, but I read a lot of other stuff too. And I really try to comment when I can. Sometimes the only thing I have to say is 'great post-thanks for writing this,' but I try to make it more than that.
The thing is that I'm really part of my little corner of the teaworld. I really get excited when I read about the World Tea Expo, write about it, and then I find out Sir William was there. He's part of my tribe here, and when things go well for him, they go well for me.
Although I really make a point that my content is original, I will credit when I find something interesting and want to write about it. I still think there's so much opportunity for growth in this Web 2.0 thing. If I try to make this blog like anything else I see out there, it won't sit right with me.
The more I inject my kookiness into it, the better response I get and the more people come looking for more kooky.
So the other thing that gets good response is when I ask questions. Here goes:
Do you feel like a part of a community with tea sites and teablogs? Is it a bit overwhelming when you see the obsessive blogs that're out there? I stay focused on black tea partly because it seems like most tea freaks are obsessed with green and Oolong, but I love those as well. I write about what I know, and I try to leave more than I take. How about you? Are you in my tribe?