Irish Typepad, Flickr

Irish Typepad, Flickr

Everybody blogs. Close to 44 million blogs are created each year. That’s one new blog per second.

What we know about these statistics is that half of these blogs will be dead by the end of the week. Because most blogs eventually become part of the vast graveyard known as “I’m going to blog tomorrow,” you’ll need to take some drastic steps to keep yours alive.

This is where moblogging comes into the picture.

What is Moblogging?

Moblogging is short for mobile blogging. Simply put, it’s when you publish blog posts directly from your cell phone or handheld device, without the use of a computer. Moblogging isn’t a new concept. It’s been around since text-enabled cellphones hit the market. However, a lot of people are still blogging the traditional way and using their cellphones for text and Twitter.

Why Use Moblogging?

The top reason people blog inconsistently (or stop blogging at all) is lack of readership. Interestingly, the top reason for lack of readership is inconsistent blogging. In blogging, what you write is important, but it doesn’t trump the importance of how often you write. History rewards the most prolific writers among us (wink wink, Stephen King). Of course, what you say is important, but blogging is about sharing the journey. Readers must be constantly regaled with your stories and insight and amazing photos or else they’ll simply lose interest and head off to next blogger who’s updating more frequently.

Moblogging helps you maximize your time. Make use of the dead spaces in the day to quickly blog your thoughts or the things you see. Those moments spent in abject silence as you wait in line at the restaurant or commute to and from work are the best moments for you to blog. Here are a few reasons why you should be doing it:

  • You are more likely to update your blog.
  • You feel good about spending time away from your computer.
  • A sense of immediacy in your posts.
  • Your audience is more connected to you.
  • Your audience is motivated to check your blog more often for updates.

What Can Moblogging Do For You?

If you’re a professional blogger, or are aspiring to be one, you probably don’t like the idea of being couped up in a cubicle all day as you slave away at work you don’t want to be doing. The reason you blog is to be informative, and entertaining, but why are you punishing yourself by being shackled to your desktop, or your laptop for that matter?

With moblogging, all you need is your trusty cellphone. The great outdoors becomes your office. Banish the thought that you even need the internet to blog these days, with voicemail conversion sites like Spinvox at your service.

Back in the old days, writers like Ernest Hemingway never traveled anywhere without their notebooks. Who knew when inspiration could hit? This century’s notebook is the cellphone. If you come up with an interesting hypothesis on dinosaurs, why would you risk waiting until you got home to write about it? If you see a stellar sunset, how could you possibly go home to retrieve your camera in enough time to capture it? If you’re a moblogger, you’re fortunate that when inspiration makes it surprise visit, you’ll be ready with your phone in hand.

Moblogging isn’t only about creating killer posts and photos. You can use moblogging to build your blog. Take for example the comments section of your blog. It’s nearly impossible to respond to your subscribers if you have a huge blog and a lively comment section, but respond you must. Responding to comments is what makes you human and accessible, which are good things in the blogosphere. So, if you’re not big on blogging with your cellphone, use it to reply to the audience.

Consider the other things you can do with your moblog. For instance, if you blog about graphic design, use your camera-phone to capture interesting textures up close. We all know how useful concrete and grass are in graphic design. Don’t believe that phones can capture great images, have a look at these images below. Here’s a tip: Add sunglasses to your camera lens for a polarized effect.

Scary Weather, MarvinL (Flickr)

colin.brown (Flickr)

Air Hoar Frost, Hammer51012 (Flickr)

A Rainy Day on Bourbon Street, And All That Malarkey (Flickr)

Daiba 2 chome, osamu_iwasaki (Flickr)

Alteratively, use your cellphone to create audio files and then post then to the internet. This comes in handy if you are attending a lecture and would like to share your experience with your audience, permitted the lecturer doesn’t mind.

Getting Started

We’ll cover how to start moblogging with the top three sites most of us still use to blog. And then, we’ll briefly look at the sites and apps that will give us the best user experience.

The Blogs You Already Know About

1. WordPress.org and WordPress.com

WordPress

While not the easiest for mobloggers, it’s definitely one of the best content management systems out there. To moblog with WordPress.org, you’ll need to download and install a special plugin called WordPress Mobile Pack. Although there are other WordPress Mobile plugins available (such as WordPress Mobile Edition), I recommend the Pack for ease of use. This plugin allows you to see admin options from your mobile browser. WordPress.com users can simply navigate to its mobile site at here for blog posting.

When it comes to the Apple iPhone, moblogging has never been easier. WordPress for iPhone is an easy-to-install application that works for both the .com and .org versions of WordPress. Using this app, you can easily create and edit posts, make comments, and add photos.

Speaking of photos, we all know the importance of adding images to our posts. Because iPhones are a one-stop-shop, you can create a post, take a photo, and edit it. My favorite photo editors for iPhone include the powerful image editor Photogene, a very useful panoramic app named Pano, and the oh-so-hot fake miniature effect app of TiltShift.

2. Blogger

Blogger

Google makes everything easier. Blogger is the easiest option for mobloggers. No downloads or installation. You simply email “REGISTER” to go@blogger.com or text it to BLOGGR (256447). They will email you back with a claim code which you can then use to set up a new blog or link back to your existing one. To make new posts, email or text the same address.

3. LiveJournal

LiveJournal

In addition to posting through their mobile interface, LiveJournal allows users to upload audio files or podcasts. You can also email your posts from your phone to yourusername+YourPIN@post.livejournal.com. Before doing that, you must add your email address to the Allowed Sender Addresses list.

The Blogs & Apps You May Not Know About, But Should

1. Tumblr

Tumblr

Tumblr is my favorite underground blog for the following reasons: it’s simple to use, it’s free, and there are no ads cheapening your site. It’s easy to moblog with Tumblr. Simply set up an account and then email or text message your posts to a unique email address that Tumblr provides for you. Of course, Tumblr also provides an iPhone app, but (almost) everyone does that. What’s cool about Tumblr is that you can create an audio post from your phone by dialing a toll free phone number. Did I mention that it’s free?

2. ShoZu

ShoZu

If you already have a blog and don’t want to create a new one, ShoZu is a useful application for you. Basically you sign up with ShoZu for free, and download the app for your cellphone. After activating the app, you can post freely to your blog. ShoZu is available for all the major blog sites. It also handles uploads to Youtube, Flickr, and Twitter.

3. SpinVox

SpinVox

If you’re liking the idea of calling a phone number to blog, you’ll love SpinVox. Instead of creating an audio file from your phone call, SpinVox transcribes your voice into text and then posts it to your blog. SpinVox is not a free service, but it’s currently offering a free trial.

Final Thoughts

Before getting serious about moblogging, consider the costs from your network provider. Data charges range depending on who powers your cellphone service. For phones like iPhone, you can get free Wi-Fi at various hotspots, making it easier and cheaper to moblog. If you can’t find a reasonable plan with your provider, consider phoning it in. Whatever avenue you choose, definitely give moblogging a try. It will revolutionize your blog, and leave your audience wanting more.

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