This is another in a series of case studies from people I interviewed in 2005 about their blogging efforts. Now as we move to 2013, I find it interesting to look back at the early days of business blogging. I will only include cases from people who are still blogging now. These cases have not appeared on this blog before
Roland Tanglao started his blog, Roland Tanglao's Weblog, in December 1999 so he is my earliest case. When we spoke in 2005, his well known blog was also listed in the Technorati top 100 blogs in terms of the number of sites that link to him with over 1700 incoming sources and over 2,000 links. Roland said that he was initially inspired by Dave Winer, Rebecca Blood, and some of the other blogging pioneers. He was working as a software developer for Nortel Networks and saw blogs as another fun IT tool to explore. Now he could publish on the web without using HTML and he could add photos of his relatives.
Roland was not sure what to do with blogs at first but he did meet his initial objective of having fun with this new tool. He also became part of the small community of bloggers that was developing. Initially, he could monitor the community without RSS but it began to grow and RSS was useful. His objectives continued to evolve and expand. He started an internal blog at his work as a knowledge sharing vehicle. He and his wife started a blog to share recipes and cooking ideas.
On September 10, 2001, Roland left Nortel like many others in the dot bust era. His last position at Notel was managing an internal developer relations group. Now he started blogging to make business connections and to promote independent consulting opportunities for himself. The blog served this purpose well. Other software developers around the world could read and respond to his thoughts in their own time zones. It also provided a more effective way to document his communication, as stuff in emails would tend to get lost and was not searchable. Roland used blogs as a way to reduce his email volume.
When Dave Winer’s Radio blog software included RSS, Roland used it more than surfing the web. After RSS, he also used blogs even more as a major source of news since he did not have a television. RSS became his newspaper. He began his Radio blog in November 2001. He then switched to Moveable Type but he has kept the same URL through these moves. In 2005 his blog had over 10,000 posts since its start. Roland also used his blog as a means to get work and to demonstrate expertise in areas where he sought work.
Roland went a step further and founded a blog service. His current version was Bryght and it offered a number of blog services. It provided hosting for Drupal users. Drupal is an open source content management platform that allows for a variety of postings, ranging from personal weblogs to community based websites. Roland assisted users by pre-configuring their blogs and then providing ongoing support. At Bryght, Roland was the chief blogger, developed documentation, engaged in business development, and did just about everything else except the technology work.
As Roland began to use his blog for business purposes, he was careful to strike a balance between business and personal expression. He did not want to alienate his early readers but, at the same time, he needed to serve his new objectives. His did the more direct marketing for Bryght on a separate blog to not appear too commercial on his main blog.
With over 1,000 RSS feeds from other blogs, Roland stayed in touch with what was happening in a number of topics. He was first interested in technical topics but had expanded his interest, in part, as the use of blogs expanded to non-technical topics. He was excited to see how it was being used in non-technical ways to support and enrich ordinary life.
Readers of Roland’s main blog find a lot of useful information on technical issues related to blogs, RSS, and other emerging technologies. In 2005 it was primarily addressed to power blog users. He also had a blog on Vancouver that is still operating, urbanVancouver.com, and another on many aspects on food and Vancouver restaurants, VanEats.
Roland offered this advice to prospective business bloggers in 2005. Do not outsource it. Do it yourself. If you have a business and a passion for it you can provide good content. If are not a good writer or do not like to write, find someone else in your business who can write. If your business does not have someone who can communicate about it with passion then this is problem beyond blogging. Most business development can be done through your blog. It can be the everyday public online representation of your business. If no else in your market is currently blogging this can be a great opportunity. You can define the issues and potentially gain great exposure for being a pioneer. Engage in straight conversation with your audience. A blog is the best way to have this online conversation.
It is great to see that Roland is still blogging going on 14 years.