Mr. Saddington is at it again, this week with the following two questions:

  • What does innovation mean to you, especially within your field? What’s coming “down the pipe”?
  • What can you do to be innovative within that field as it relates to blogging?

I have to be honest, the concept of innovation sometimes makes me a little nervous, most often because it can perpetuate the “new is better” idea. When we live that way, we run the risk of being like the Athenians in Acts 17:21, always on the lookout for the next great thing. I cannot maintain that all innovation is such, though, and there are good and necessary uses for thinking through new ways to engage, interact, create and improve.

To answer John’s first question, innovation generally is the establishing of a new idea/process/function or the significant progress of an existing one. For instance, recording music was a new thing, the mp3 was significant progress (or regress depending on your opinion). In both cases, they were innovations. With regard to this blog, I’m not sure I can claim innovation for the content type (reviews and writings on culture from a Christian perspective – not reinventing the wheel here!), but then there is the concept of innovation personally. This year there are two things “coming down the pipe” that are new for Reflective Musings. Firstly, audio. Audio of several kinds, including interviews, discussions and music. I love dialog and really wanted to incorporate more of that into the community here.

That leads to innovation number two, and this one has some “behind-the-scenes” stuff to it. It isn’t new to have more than one writer on a blog. But it seems more unique that I am not seeking to control/restrict those voices. I oversee Reflective Musings, I’m the primary writer, but when I’ve invited some people to write with me (the first being Brad Hawkes), I haven’t restricted them in what they post other than to have them schedule a few days out from when it’s written so that I can manage how and when new content goes up. I was called brave, and possibly crazy. But here’s the thing – if I’m really going to have perspective and community, don’t I have to give voice to other people? I’m not inviting just anyone to write; there are strong correlations in our beliefs and passions, but I also want them to be authentic in their contributions.

The same freedom is not fully extended to commenting. I still require some moderation on commenting because sometimes people get mean and weird, especially on “controversial” topics.

Finally, I know that there are lots of great posts on TentBlogger about bringing in money from your blog, but I am currently going a different road. Right now, I’ve offered four free ad spots on the blog to non-profits that I love. This is a way for me to support their work and direct some more traffic their way. I have an idea brewing on ways to take that to the next level, and it certainly isn’t the standard M.O. for advertising, but it could be cool. I will post about that idea soon, so check back or subscribe to the blog here.

I suppose I answered question 2 as well in the midst of that, so let me ask you a question related to commenting strategies:

Do you let everyone comment without moderation on your blog, or do you control the comments to some degree? What are the reasons for how you operate?