In a recent post, Seth Godin shared his take on the #1 secret of great blogs: Every one of them leads a tribe.
A bit of background... Seth's latest book, Tribes, stakes out this thesis: Everyone is now a leader. The explosion in tribes, groups, and circles of influences means that anyone who wants to make a difference can. Tribes are about faith--about belief in an idea and in a community. And they are grounded in respect and admiration for the leader of the tribe and for the other members as well.
Church of Christ bloggers and Twitterers recognize and read each others' posts. We use the same shorthand, we "get" our faith tradition's idiosyncrasies. (That doesn't mean they don't drive us crazy at times.) Blogging tribes don't try to reach everyone. Instead, they are hosting a digital conversation for guests that have something in common.
Here's some supporting evidence from my SoHills' world: Tammy leads a tribe. Sarah leads a tribe. So does Susan. And so does Stephen. It's not hard to find other examples for Seth's thesis.
In each case, the function of the blog is to be a standard bearer, the north star that tribe members can point to as a place to meet or for ideas to circle around. The blog isn't about the writer, it's about the readers.
The key takeaway is this: Once you realize that your job is to find and connect and lead a tribe, to give them something to talk about and a place to go, it's a lot easier to write a blog that works.