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Monday, August 6, 2012

Join Something: Guest Post by A to Z Veteran Matt Conlon

Matt_Conlon     Today's guest is Matt Conlon who blogs at =]V[= and other blogs as well (a complete list can be found at his main site.  He is a veteran A to Z participant with two years with two participating blogs under his belt.  Join him as he talks about his latest project.

I started blogging only a few years back with the intention of leaving behind a sort of journal that I and my loved ones could look back upon in the years to come. I loved the idea that someday my kids, grand-kids, etc. could find out who I was by reading the thoughts I had bouncing around in my head. As I looked into blogging, I couldn't help but get excited about the idea that people I didn't know were going to read what I wrote, and comment.

I tossed up my first blog post and waited for the comments to pour in. They didn't. Perhaps it wasn't interesting enough. I started taking content from other places and re-posting it. Nope, that didn't work either.

I looked around for a blog directory on blogger (the platform on which I started) and came up with nothing. I was shocked that there wasn't a place I could look at a list of blogs about this or that. I started searching Google for "blog about humor" and stuff like that and found one or two here and there. Left a few comments. After a few months, I got a half dozen followers, and it was almost like work!

Eventually, I stumbled upon the A to Z challenge, purely by chance. I signed up, and within the first couple of weeks my followers had sprouted from somewhere around 32 to over 100! Not only were people reading my content, but they were commenting! I found a few dozen great blogs which I still follow today, and created great relationships with wonderful people I may never have found otherwise. 

The 2011 A to Z challenge came to a close, and while recovering from a month of blogging like I'd never blogged before, (cause I hadn't!) I realized how powerful a blog challenge can be. Further, I realized how fortunate I had been to have found that one blog that linked to it! ...But what if I hadn't?? It certainly wasn't all that easy to find, I only happened to hit the "Next Blog" button on blogger and found a link to it on someone's side-bar. 

Thus, was born. The idea behind was to create a community where bloggers like us could come and register a blog challenge, or a blog circle, or come look for challenges and circles to join. There is also a user forum where you can come and post a link to your latest blog post, or join in some of the goofy word games we're playing, or simply mingle with other bloggers. 

We are currently tweeting updates about challenges, forum posts, blog hops, etc. Tweet your latest blog post @Join_Something and we'll re-tweet you.

Our hope is to bring more readership to your blogs, more exposure to your blog challenges, and help lost bloggers find a place to share and find content. 

I hope to see you there!

- Matt Conlon

How about you?  Are you ready to join something?  Check out the links to see what Matt's talking about.

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Anonymous said...

Our Monday Photo Prompt is posted on Join Something and I am flying your icon on my blog.

Ghadeer said...

That sounds like a great idea. You're right- I wish there was a directory of all the blogs that exist- but they're over a million.

Jarm Del Boccio said...

Thanks, Matt! I'm looking forward to checking out your links. Good to know there is another place to share our writing with others. It's been good to be a part of the A to
Z's to another year of challenge!

Arlee Bird said...

There are many ways to expand ones range as a blogger and build a community. This is a great idea, Matt, and your site is very well done.

Tossing It Out

Anonymous said...

Thanks Delores! Much appreciated!

Jnana - Thanks! You're right that would be a heck of a directory!

Jarm - Looking forward to see you there! I agree, the A to Z family is a great one. :)

Arlee - Thanks Lee! I'm hoping the forums become a useful tool for bloggers to find fresh content and bloggers who are active. Too often I'll stumble upon a blog post and realize it was from a blog that hasn't been updated in several years.

Ros Haywood said...

Hi - love the idea
I have a genealogy blog and belong to Geneabloggers ( which is a site with blogging prompts, news etc. Maybe you would like to take a look?

Matt Conlon said...

Thanks Ros, I'd definitely check that out! :)

Jo said...

I will certainly check out the site. I managed to acquire a few readers over the years, but certainly got more when I joined the A to Z challenge plus comments. As for family reading what you wrote, I don't think anyone in my family ever reads anything I write.

Matt Conlon said...

Yeah, to be honest, I kinda like that I can say something on my blog and be relatively certain family won't hear it... I'm considering testing that theory out with a few practical jokes... ;)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said... - that is good to know!
The first Challenge in 2010 changed blogging completely for me, which is why I am a big supporter.

Matt Conlon said...

Thanks Alex!

Please be aware, there are some little changes that are still being made to the site, so if something looks a little wonky... It just may be.

It will likely always be a work in progress. :)

Mina Lobo said...

That's super nifty - I've missed out on a number of blog fests and whatnot because I'm not always able to keep up with what's new or upcoming. Getting your Tweets will help a lot - thanks for providing this groovy service!
Some Dark Romantic

Matt Conlon said...

Hi Mina, Thanks! Hope to see you there. :)

Tina said...

Your story sounds similar to mine, only it was another group that launched me: Jenny Matlock and Alphabe-thursday. There I met Rayna where I met Alex and the challenge and now my blogging is forever changed. I really like your idea of a site to showcase blog hops and chances like that. I'll check it out as soon as I can...just returned from vacation and am jet lagged and a bit wonky...
Tina @ Life is Good
Post A-Z Road trip!
Co-Host of the A-Z Challenge

Nicole said...

I like the idea and purpose of the "Join Something" site. It makes it easier to find blogs that cater to a specific topic of interest such as humor, as you mentioned, or sports, art, reading, etc.

Blog: The Madlab Post
@MadlabPost on Twitter

Matt Conlon said...

Eventually, we're planning to have a database of each user's blogs, that can be browsed by category. Each blog owner would put their blog on, quick description, and three or five tags for what the blog is about.

Matt Conlon said...

For those of you who may have tried to "log in with Twitter", that link was apparently broken. It has since been fixed... Thanks!

Unknown said...

Off to check your site!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Matt .. interesting site you've set up - I'll be over to look. Just doing one challenge a year "is enough" .. how everyone blogs and posts all the time amazes me - I'm an eclectic blogger with eclectic posts - luckily I have a great many supporters. Now my life is changing - I'll see where I go ..

Cheers Hilary