Only Connect: The Essence of Authority

This post is an entry to the competition run by Chris Garrett to win $2000 of SOBCon and ChrisG consulting prizes. Details at the end of the post!
Only Connect
Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer.
– E.M. Forster
For my 21st birthday my parents bought me a purple iMac. I had recently moved with my husband and my baby girl to the wild and windy north coast of Scotland; my nearest neighbours were 4 miles away, I couldn’t drive, I had no TV and I was 8 months pregnant with my son. By the time my birthday rolled around, my new baby was 6 weeks old, and I’ve never felt so isolated in my life. By giving me the gift of the iMac, my parents did more than give me a machine that I could write my essays on; they gave me the gift of connection.
 
8 years on and my connection to the internet is still of great importance to me, but things have changed somewhat with my introduction to blogging. Over the last 6 months that I’ve been producing Lives Less Ordinary, I’ve discovered that the connections that I’m involved in are multiple and wide-reaching. By posting images of where I live, coupled with my words and my thoughts, I have not only created a resource of beautiful photographs, a place where people can come and find inspiration, a corner of the internet where readers can enjoy an escapist moment out of their busy lives, I have founded a community of like-minded individuals. I am helping others to connect not only to their environment and to my environment, but also to each other and to themselves.
 
For me, this is the essence of ‘authority’ blogging: the ability to create connections.
 
As Chris Garrett states in his definition, to blog with ‘authority’ means to blog with a ‘friendly and open’ personality, to demonstrate ‘expertise, experience, knowledge or talent’ and to display an understanding of how to ‘develop visibility’. In order to demonstrate all of these attributes, you need to be able to make connections: you have to connect on a personal level with your readers, you need to connect your readers to ideas, information, and images that they’ll find valuable and will enhance their lives in some way, and you need to connect with all those you haven’t met yet, who you believe would appreciate your blog’s content. If I were to attend SOBCon 08 in Chicago, one of my main contributions to the event, along with my energy, my enthusiasm, my unique perspective, my creative approach (and my photos!), would be my ability to create connections.
 
What I would hope to gain from a consultation with Chris, from attending SOBCon and from meeting the other delegates, would be the opportunity to create connections to people, resources, information and advice which combined would help me put together a plan to make my next project a success. Yes, you read that right! I have another project brewing, which would, in some ways, be a sister blog to Lives Less Ordinary, as it would focus on one specific topic that I often engage with here.  I have big plans for this project, and I know that I can make it a success, but by attending SOBCon and by consulting with Chris, I would hope to gain the support of an amazing community, I would learn how to avoid some of the pitfalls which may slow down my progress, and I would learn how to refine the skills that I’ve been developing over the last 6 months. Attendance at SOBCon coupled with the consultation would be invaluable in helping me towards my goal of becoming an authority blogger.
 
It would help me to connect.
 
Now, if you fancy having a go at winning yourself the prizes listed below, you still have time. Follow the instructions on how to enter, and you could win the opportunity to attend SOBCon in Chicago. Trust me – you really want to be there!

sobcon08_logo189x60.jpg

Authority Blogger Contest Prizes and Rules

  1. $1000 budget to pay for SOBCon08 registration and travel expenses which also includes:
    • a copy of ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett
    • 60 attendees will get free design and SEO consults from Network Solutions experts.
    • a $99 lifetime hosting offer from THC
    • a pro account at E-Junkie
    • a free subscription to Blogger & Podcaster Magazine and a chance to join their new USA Today guide
    • a professional video interview on you and your biz for BlogTV sponsored by Fuel My Blog
  2. A hour of consulting with Chris Garrett, face-to-face if possible.
  3. The complete Authority Blogger online course when it launches.
  4. An introduction to all of the speakers at the event.

It’s a fabulous prize package!

To Enter:

1. Write a blog post explaining why you’re the best candidate to be the next Authority Blogger. What you’ll add to the event, what you hope to learn from a personal consultancy with Chris Garrett and the wealth of great business bloggers in that weekend in Chicago. Be sure to write with authority. Tell your compelling story.
2. Have your post written by March 31st.
3. Leave a trackback to this post or a link in the comment, so that we know you’ve entered.
4. Your post can include pictures, but should be no longer than 1000 words.
5. Liz Strauss, and Chris Garrett, that’s me, will select the winner on 1st of April.
6. In the case of a draw a representative from Blog Catalog will have the deciding vote.

So, how would you define ‘authority blogging’?  Do you agree that the essence of authority is connection?  What inspires you to connect with a blog’s community?

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March 26, 2008. Admin, Inspiration, Uncategorized.

15 Comments

  1. Karen Swim replied:

    Amy, I had not quite thought of it this way but you are absolutely right. An authority who doesn’t connect is actually just a person with opinions. In a short time span you have firmly established yourself as an authority. You’ve created an inviting community of wonderful people who enjoy gathering here and sharing a bit of your world. I love this space and anxiously await your next project as well. Good luck in the contest. You and Joanna Young both get my vote, if anyone should ask! 😉

    Karen

  2. wendikelly replied:

    Amy,
    I have only been at this for a few weeks, but I love the description you gave on the essence of authority. It explains why I am so attracted to your blog and come here every day.
    Oh and by the way, if I do get to painting the flowers, I will send you a link!

    Thanks!
    Wendi Kelly

  3. Daz Cox replied:

    hmmmm I’m not sure that a blog will die if it doesn’t grow in terms of readership.

    I understand the need to make money but there can be a slippery slope where you ‘trade up’ for more popular friends on the web, i hope you do not forget the little people when you are all famous and pro!

  4. Damien Riley replied:

    I’ve always defied authority so it would be really hard to explain why I see myself as one 😉

    I really liked your post though … maybe you’ll win the big bucks!

  5. amypalko replied:

    Thank you for your lovely encouragement, Karen. You truly are one of my biggest cheerleaders! Pom poms and all 😉

    I’m so glad that this description made sense to you, Wendikelli, and that it resonated with your own experience of Lives Less Ordinary. I was a little reticent about posting it, but with your lovely reassurance, I feel a lot better about it 🙂

    I don’t think that’s quite what I mean, Daz. I am a huge fan of personal blogging i.e. blogging for personal growth, where the survival of the blog is maintained only for as long as the blogger keeps it going. In other words, it isn’t dependent upon the numbers of readers it attracts. However, I do think that in order to grow and develop a business blog, you do need to be able to increase your blog’s community.
    I get a huge amount out of producing Lives Less Ordinary and I will continue to post here for the foreseeable future. The 2 projects are most certainly not an either or situation. My intention is that they work together in symbiosis. Does that make a bit more sense?

    Yes, Damien, I think this is more about reclaiming the word authority, and owning it for what it means to you. Check out Chris’ post on it, that I linked to, to see what I mean.

  6. Joanna Young replied:

    Amy, you start with one of my favourite quotes. It’s what I love the most about blogging too. Each and every day something happens to make a connection that blows me away.

    You make a very compelling case to come to SobCon and I know that your presence in the room would help everyone to make connections, to you, to their environment, to each other, to their own selves. That’s a precious gift you have.

    Good luck with the competition, you know I would love to hit the streets of Chicago with you!

    Joanna

  7. amypalko replied:

    Thank you, Joanna, for your lovely words. They really do mean so much to me 🙂

  8. Nick Cernis replied:

    I love your approach and definition, Amy. I’ve never truly understood or appreciated the term “authority blogging” before reading your post today.

    Making connections is a wonderful way of thinking about it. I hope you make some great ones when you win!

  9. JM Daum replied:

    I vote for you! (Chris, I vote for Amy whether it counts or not!)

  10. Penelope Anne replied:

    Amy I truly agree with your definition and I wish you the best of luck in winning this.

  11. This Eclectic Life replied:

    You are going to Chicago. Excellent post, and good luck!!

  12. amypalko replied:

    Wow, thank you, Nick. It took quite a long time to write this post as I had reassess the way that I viewed and defined ‘authority blogging’. I’m glad the final result clicked with you 🙂

    Thanks JM! Your vote counts with me 🙂

    Thank you Penelope Anne! Incidentally, has your package from Scotland arrived yet?

    Thank you so much for your faith in me, Shelly. I truly is very appreciated 🙂

  13. Fractured Bloughts » Basis of authority: be authentic replied:

    […] Amy wrote a long and really good post about authority blogging, and I promised to dot down a few thoughts of mine on her post. Go and read it, it worth it. And now, to the point where I enter the storyline: […]

  14. Fractured Bloughts » How you define authority and what it means to you? replied:

    […] authors, experts and bloggers it is faster. That’s where Amy’s idea of connectivity comes in, where my idea of being authentic and genuine comes into play, and all the rest takes it’s […]

  15. The Good News and the Bad News « Lives Less Ordinary replied:

    […] bad news is that my post, Only Connect: The Essence of Authority, did not win me the SOBCon/ChrisG prizes.  That honour went to the well-deserved post, Why you […]

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