Beth and Trish asked me to write about the topic; what makes a blog good, what is interesting and what is uninteresting… Mo3 added a portion about good writing. I confess that I feel like somewhat of a douche bag for even writing this, because this is my opinion only and only the way I see things with my short attention span. So since blogs are places where one may say, "Me, Me, Me", I'll move ahead with todays post.
It seemed to me that blogging was created to give the unheard a place to sound their voices and possibly be recognized. It was a very personal medium where people would share their daily experiences and share their opinions. It is a web log, which is a personal log that one places on the web. There are millions of them now, and they have crawled above the technical horizon they were once beneath to become a new wow factor of the Internet.
I only started blogging last May. Before that I had heard of it, but it wasn’t even a blip on my Internet radar. I fell upon it because I was looking for a certain local photo, and somehow I ended up at http://astoria.mung.net/. It reminded me of web sites I’ve done in the past, so a few days later I opened Astoria Rust.
I visited a lot of blogs to see what it took to hold my attention. I quickly got tired of all the blogs with photos of happy groups of Asians at restaurant tables. I tired of the blogs about women’s shoes. Family pet blogs turned my stomach as did food blogs. Mom blogs were a big turn off as well, but I did read some of them and found that many of these moms were excellent writers. Yes, they featured tales and photos of their children whom I didn’t know or even care about, but under it all were some great ideas, some great personal feelings and often great angst. My eyes were open to the literate heart and the dreams of the mini-van mafia. I also saw the intense love these women have for their families. So for me, mom blogs were not attractive from the exterior, but once inside it was another story entirely. I felt at home.
Being a child of television I have a very short attention span. I like there to be a hook. A blog needs to come at me with good writing or at least a good photo. This is why I always try to get an interesting photo to accompany my articles. I also enjoy a blog that is reliable; one that I can count on reading weekly, daily or even a couple times a day. I used to post only five or six days a week, and then I saw how my stats sagged on the day after I didn’t post and how they often took several days to recover. It was like I had betrayed my readers, so now I post seven days a week and the stats show that there are generally 100 hits a day. The readers have a ritual that I don’t want to upset.
To me a good blog should include personal stuff about the writer. I see many blogs that just take stuff off the net and turn it around into a blog post. Sometimes this is interesting, but a good story from the writer about the writer seems to make it real. It exposes the heart and soul and sometimes the underbelly. These are the writers that want people to relate to them and are willing to go the extra mile while they reach out.
Mom of 3 stated that she is totally put off by bad writing in blogs, where I am not. I am put off by bad technical writing like poorly written manuals, and more so by signs that say “10 items or less” in the check out line. It should be “10 items or fewer.” I think of blogs as internet travel. If I visit a city I expect to hear the vernacular of the city. If I visit somewhere rural I expect the vernacular of that setting. I don’t mind so much that people use or abuse the language. If they have something good to say it will rise to the surface. It’s all about an attempt to communicate. Blogging is not a professional thing; it is one person wanting to be heard and to add some meaning to all the things that are processed by their grey matter. It does drive me nuts when I see the language abused by the print media or anything that is supposed to have professional writers on staff.
Finally, the comments; Bloggers love comments. I have my blog comments sent to my email address so I don’t miss any. I like to acknowledge that I have read them with a reply back to them. Sometimes people will reply to an article I did months earlier, and I always reply back. If it was important enough to them to make a statement, I want to tell them that I read what they had to say.
So in conclusion, the blogs I like and try to emulate have an interesting illustration, brief stories often of a personal nature, and comments that get a reply from the author.
By the way, this article is too long for what I would consider to be a good post for someone with a short attention span, such as myself.