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Don’t pick the G.I. Joe action figure

Image courtesy of Destro

We have a toy philosophy for our kids that basically states: go open ended.

But, back to the toys. If you give kids a G.I. Joe action figure, you’ve basically defined for them the who, what, how and why of the toy. I mean where do they really have to go with it?

Juxtapose that with a wooden block. A wooden block can be anything. A dog, a car, a mountain…could even be G.I. Joe.

A static, brochure website is the equivalent of the G.I. Joe toy. Basically, it is what it is. You can change up your content or your images (if you have an easy to navigate content management system (CMS))…but to really expand it any way, you’d have to pay big bucks to a designer or coder. Just like you’d have to buy G.I. Joe’s new uber-tank to expand his outfit and capabilities.

But, the blog is the wooden block. It’s designed to be anything you want, anything you can imagine – and it’s made to grow by:

  • the blogger him/herself
  • the theme
  • the blogging software
  • the blog posts
  • the plug-ins
  • the widgets
  • the links
  • the readers
  • the subscribers
  • the sponsors
  • the writer’s growing expertise
  • the industry’s transformation
  • the traffic
  • the comments
  • the search engine ranking
  • the inquiries
  • the relationships
  • the technological advances
  • the infinite possibilities…

Which one do you want??? Just askin’…

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Join the discussion 17 Comments

  • I’m working with a new blogger on their concept. This is the perfect metaphor… Just what I needed! :)

    “the blog is the wooden block. It’s designed to be anything you want, anything you can imagine”

  • I use a blog plus a website,but lately I’ve been spending more time on my blog. These days it seems people are more in a hurry. A lot of them would rather read one day’s thoughts then spend time looking over an entire website. Also, many like the idea of responding in the comment section.

    Morgan Mandel

  • Ron Miller says:

    While I agree with your basic analogy, I’m not sure that GI Joe is the best choice. While there is a pre-defined role for the toy, there is plenty of room for imaginative play with a doll (male oriented or not). Children are generally not limited by the roles defined by the adults who made the toy and could and probably use it in all the same ways as the wooden block.

    There are lots of toys these days that do everything for the child. They make the noises and they do everything for the child, limiting the imaginative possibilities. I just think you could have come up with a better choice than GI Joe (even though I understand why you don’t like it any more than you would like Barbie).

    Ron Miller
    by Ron Miller Blog

  • Julie Roads says:

    Ron! I agree that you can still have some imagination with G.I. Joe – how will he fight, where will he fight, what did his enemies do, etc…but it isn’t an open-ended toy by definition. Yes, I could’ve picked Barbie and almost did, but then I always like to reach out to male readers at equal paces…

    I love your thoughts…thanks for being part of the conversation.

  • Todd Jordan says:

    Love this post. Gosh darn it’s like a splash on the face.

    I’ve often fallen for the G.I. Joe > block, just because I was sure that’s what I wanted. Often playing with the block ends up being more fun and more of a stretch.

    Of course, I’ve got this thing for penguins, search my Flickr stream to see.

    Cheers to a great 2009 kick off on your blog.

  • Ron Miller says:

    I don’t want to belabor the point, but you don’t have to make GI Joe fight. You can make him cook if you want or fly or whatever. Just because he’s defined in a certain way certainly doesn’t mean your 3 year old is going to use it that way.

    But of course, this isn’t about toys and I understand that. It’s about blogging. And you can make your blog be about anything you want.


  • Julie Roads says:

    I agree…but there’s another factor at play – TV. We don’t let our kids watch, so if they got a GI Joe, our son would turn him into a construction worker – because he turns everyone into a construction worker. Case in point: the Eric Cartman (ala South Park) ornament we had on our tree this year – from goodness knows where) – Jack turned him into a construction worker in about 2 seconds…and Cartman would have hated that!

  • Ari Herzog says:

    You don’t let your kids watch GI Joe or you don’t let them watch TV?

    Why not get rid of the TV? I heard a prediction yesterday from Daisy Whitney (of TV Week) that many people this year will unsubscribe from their cable/satellite packages because all content can be seen online.

  • Julie Roads says:

    No TV!!! Occasionally, they watch a musical (circa Mary Poppins) under dire circumstances (like when we need to have an adult conversation).

    I would love to get rid of our cable package…and our phone land lines and long distance…all wasted money! I’m working on it…

  • OK, OK, I get it, Julie. I am working on a new blog that will function as a blog and web site. Its a little overwhelming, but I don’t like the static quality of my current web site and I think a blog/website will function much better for me. ADHD and all that – I need constant stimulation. Happy New Year (and congrats on the feature on Active Rain).

  • The best of both worlds for the future in google juice is the site/blog. A static site that has your static info and powered by your blog. For real estate agents and mortgage brokers this is the way to go because they can have their tabs still going down the left with tier 2 pages like testimonials and static info about a neighborhood, etc. Then the blog would be the moving new content that has all the attributes you listed above.

  • Julie – Just wound up here thanks to ActiveRain and wound up reading this post. One of the best written, perfect-definition posts I’ve read in awhile. Awesome comparison. Thanks.

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