We’re proud to present David Pennington, a hippie, but of a bit different than the ones we have in mind! A sustainability blogger from Denver is by trade a writer. David also keeps the roof over his head by managing websites, developing content, working in ad tech, and working with inbound marketing strategies. As he told us, he loves working with people in any way he can to further enhance their blogs with great content and tools to further engage their audience. This is a very interesting interview because David has a lot to say. What he says, matters. Happy readings!
I just can’t start this conversation without first asking you who is a hippie today? Are you one?
It is easy to conjure up images of leather-fringe vests, LSD, and annoying protest camps and sit-ins when you think of “hippie”. The word has undergone variations over the decades. It roots in the days of American Jazz with the term “hip cats” who knew what was “goin’ on”. Hippies, moders. hipsters – like so many other descriptions, “hippie” is just a word that we use to describe the thing that we haven’t come up with a better word for.
The hippies of the 60s – the ones that were all about The Dead and said things like “mother earth” and lived on communes – had a few things right: we’re all on this planet together and we have to understand that the actions of one can impact many. The modern “hippies” today don’t yet have a definition that’s widely agreed upon or accepted – and that’s what I’m working on, rebranding today’s idea of “hippie.
From corporate influence to energy solutions to pure food – the duties of today’s hippie are no longer about protecting the earth, but ensuring humanity is capable of surviving the coming years. Today’s hippies are a little more aware of things like what happens after you flip a light switch and the impact of where you decide to shop. I definitely, and proudly, put myself in with this definition. Go ahead and call me a hippie, it’s what I’ve been aiming for all along.
As you say, “the duties of today’s hippie are … ensuring humanity is capable of surviving the coming years”. And you blog about living sustainably. Can one also be a sustainable blogger? Can the two be compared?
Yes, sure, anything can be sustainable. You’d first have to think about what definition of sustainability is most useful. On it’s own, “sustainable” is a system that consumes and wastes at a rate the environment surrounding it can handle it.
I came across an article recently asking whether or not cloud computing was actually “green.” It was a discussion of the energy data centers were using to store and share the information that they were designed for. Allegedly, data centers are now leaving a bigger carbon footprint than all of the airlines combined. Blogging has given everyone the chance to have whatever voice they want. But there is a price to giving everyone a platform, and that price is in the construction of the platform. It’s easy to forget that our devices plug into wall sockets that give us, largely, coal-fired energy.
Energy is being consumed in the production, hosting, and consumption of content. Every day a year’s worth of video is uploaded to YouTube. Thousands of domains are being registered, thousands of websites go live in some capacity or another. We want to create content, but how do we do it on a sustainable scale – both in the responsible consumption of energy and in making sure we just aren’t rehashing the exact same ideas and content over and over?
As for energy – that’s up to everyone. Getting data centers to switch to wind and solar power. To being a little less mindless in your net browsing. Maybe even in demanding higher quality of content from publishers by not wasting time on sites with stolen content. As for ideas – I doubt we’ll ever run out of them so long as every blogger out there has the guts to say the very thing that led them to start a blog.
Do you consider yourself a blogger?
I absolutely consider myself a blogger. Writing and publishing content is a start, but a worthwhile blogger takes the time to connect their publishing with an audience in an effective way. Most see it as “a way to get traffic.” The best way to do this is to engage communities – even if they aren’t directly yours.
What made you launch a blog?
At the time I was doing a lot of new things. Just bought a house, broke ground on my first gardens. When you have a house, energy consumption takes a whole different precedence. Sure, you want to make sure your home is warm/cool at the right times so you can be comfortable (that’s why you got a home in the first place, right?) but how do you do so without racking up a huge energy bill?
Is the internet now over saturated with blogs?
There is a stat somewhere that a new website starts every two seconds. Thousands of new domains are registered every day. Not every domain becomes a site. Not every site is a blog. Most blogs see only one or two posts before they are forgotten into the abyss of the net.
Saturated? Absolutely not. Is our day to day life saturated with conversation? Albeit, there are a ton of garbage blogs, a lot of blogs that are little more than aggregators and content stealers. There are definitely a lot of blogs and trying to read through them all will burn you out pretty quickly. I’ll say what’s been said before – every blog needs to have that ONE unique thing they are trying to say. With Not Quite Hippie – it is that the sustainability mindset starts at home and grows outward. I ensure that all of my content speaks to that in some capacity.
Effective blogging isn’t so much about the content as it is the conversations which surround it. From the tweets to the comment sections – what other people have to say is as important as what you’ve written. For every post I write, I probably write at least 20 emails to people – looking for guest posts, promotion opportunities, and just answering questions from interested parties.
When did you start using Zemanta?
Honestly, I don’t remember when – I’d peg it around 6 months back. As a blogger who reads a ton of blogs, eventually I have no choice but to notice the tools that others are using. Zemanta was one of these tools.
How does Zemanta help you blog better/easier?
I run my primary blog on WordPress, and Zemanta helps me connect with relevant content that works to make the content I’m working on more complete. I also run a creational sustainable blog on Tumblr. It works well for SEO purposes and to help me tap into the huge community in Tumblr made up of other curationists. On Tumblr, Zemanta’s tag suggestion tool is fantastic for getting your content aligned with the right audience. It’s amazing how many users of tumblr are in the dark about their system of tags and how to use them advantageously.
What’s your Zemanta Power Tip?
Offer up your content. The more places your stuff has a chance to show up, the better chance you have of gaining a brand new audience. IF the brightest future of blogging is because of the community, then be a part of the community.