11 October 2011

What is a Blog Off: a Blog Off post

Every two weeks, the blogosphere comes alive with something called a Blog Off. A Blog Off is an event where bloggers of every stripe weigh in on the same topic on the same day. The topic for this round of the Blog Off is "What is a Blog Off?"


In 1975, the British group Supertramp released the album "Crisis? what Crisis?" and its cover art sums up my sentiments about our modern times perfectly. That to photo in question dates from 1975 (a year I remember too well) tells me that nothing ever changes.

The world is going to hell and it's wasting no time getting there but Blog Offs let me see an alternate reality. Every two weeks, we get to write about the same thing and interpret it as we want to. It's fascinating to read all of the participants' takes on a given topic and it reaffirms my faith in humanity to see the amount of good will spilled out on Twitter on Blog Off days. Total strangers stop what they're doing, read a participating blog post, leave a comment and Tweet about it. Would that everything worked with such genial generosity.

As a founder of this thing I see new bloggers build communities around themselves with Blog Offs and these things give people like me who've been at it for a while the chance to encourage newcomers. I always learn something and I never stop marveling at the amazing people my fellow bloggers are.

So even though everything seems to be falling apart, there's this. The Blog Off and the community of bloggers and Twitter-ers who keep it alive every two weeks. It makes me think that all is not lost after all.

And as one of the people who keeps this thing alive, we're looking for you to help us refine what we're doing. How can we better serve the Blog Off community? What topics should we tackle and just how commercial are you willing to let us get? We have a designer-ly skew though not all of us who participate have have an involvement in the shelter industry. How can we grow our pool of participants without alienating the folks we have on board already? This topic is the perfect opportunity to let it all out, for good and bad. How can we make this thing better and more useful?

As today wears on, and as I fly to San Francisco, a table of all the participating bloggers will appear here. Please do me a favor and click on the links to see what people from all over think about the Blog Off.


  1. Great post Paul and you have me thinking.

  2. I love blogging off!

    I do not feel like you need to change anything. I enjoy the challenge of writing about something I have never thought of before.

    The fact that I am free to interpret the week's subject in my own way is all the freedom I need.

    Thanks for doing this every two weeks. It has been the best experience for me.

  3. I think the LetsBlogOff has becomes a bloggers "Kitchen table" of sorts.. I may be showing my age with that comment, but the best room in the house when I was growing up was the large kitchen that had a big kitchen table.. no matter how comfortable the sofa may have been in the living room, we all somehow ended up around the kitchen table to talk about the most important things; family, friends or neighbors. It was informal, you got to lean back and if you spilled coffee on the table, it was no big deal. There was no pretense or measured response around the kitchen table.

  4. As with any community, it takes on a life of its own - a composite of those "in it", how they choose to express themselves, and their responses to the winds of the world-at-large swirling around and through them. I salute the contributions of the past (ooo, old enough to have a past now...) and look forward to the offerings to come. Maybe I'll get a chance to jump in again...

  5. i'm just happy you provide the forum. i think it helps create better bloggers and humans. the random-ness of the topics are a great chance to write about things we wouldn't normally let ourselves write about. which could be important when you're blogging for your business... LBO gives us an excuse to go off topic and lets our audience see a side of us they wouldn't normally see. and that side (or voice) could be the one thing that sets us apart from the rest, creating a connection that evolves into business down the line.

    not sure what you mean by going more commercial...maybe aligning with sponsors ? i'm all for whatever keeps the process going as long as it doesn't become an assignment in writing a sales/marketing sheet for someone. (not that you'd let that happen, but you get the idea!)

    thanks for all you do... safe travels today. i felt the wave as you flew over phoenix :)

  6. A great post and I think the intern who suggested this week's topic was truly inspired. Your post has given me hope!

  7. Thanks for letting me be a part of your blogging community. You can thank (or blame) dogwalkblog aka "Rufus Dog" for drawing me in! I am enjoying the experience. Would love to have your take on my posts as I grow in this new arena!

  8. I have not participated in the Blog Off for the last two topics, but it’s because I decided, after posting 850+ blogs on kitchens and baths, to take a break from it. I will return to the blogging next week much refreshed. I enjoy the Blog Off because it means that every tenth blog is about SOMETHING ELSE. I also enjoy what others write and always make it a point to comment on every one of them, excepting only those that have a total pain-in-the-neck anti-spamming roadblock.

    My own preferences for upcoming topics would be those of a more political bent, but that is an idea we discussed earlier, and your reasons for not wanting to go down that road are still valid. You said the idea was not to alienate, but to embrace and expand. I feel the same way about making it too commercial. We could do something self-serving like writing on the ABCDEF Faucet Company, and of course the faucet company would be happy, but…

    I personally did not care for some of the more trivial subjects, although I participated anyway. I love the challenge of really “probing the depths,” as my father always put it. Things like the difference between fact and truth or defining legacy were much more to my liking. But, really, whatever you guys come up with is fine with me. And if I had more of an idea of where you truly want to go with topics, I would suggest more.


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