The other day, one of my friends in the Ultimate Blog Challenge wrote a post with a quiz. Which of the various subjects that she blogs on would we, the readers, like to see featured in more posts? I struggled to answer and ended up leaving a comment along the lines of “follow your passion”, because I personally have become completely entranced by posts on seemingly trivial subjects simply because they were very well written. For so much of rhetoric on the internet is indeed like politics– it’s much less about what you say but how you say it that is the key to drawing an audience.
Part of that is of course caused by my inner writing geek, and not everyone who reads blog posts on the internet is a writing geek. I think it’s still true in the meta-sense. Those “how to” articles advise that limiting our word count to less than or equal to 400, using attractive photos, subheaders, and always ending with a question or call to action are our keys to success. I’m not suggesting that we abandon all that; indeed, some of it works quite well. However, none of it works as well as strong writing in your unique voice. It’s the one commonality behind every superstar of the blogosphere. The stars have personal writing styles that they utilize consistently. Some of them stick to one topic, others subject hop. Whichever and whatever, they maximize their own style and sometimes decidedly quirky points of view.
Quirky points of view invite discussion. If you want to have “community”, you can’t be afraid of debate. People eventually tire of agreeing with you. Something in human nature wants, if not just to argue, to bring up different views or tell you something you didn’t know or haven’t considered. Yes, it’s true. A lot of us really want to sound smart on the internet. You’ll have to be fearless with the ban hammer if you don’t want to be over-run by trolls. You’ll need a thick skin. It’s easier to be Emily Dickinson than The Bloggess.
In the midst of thinking about all this, I realized that I tend to be a bit lazy with my posts. I write my casual, easy thoughts here, no striving in my discipline or exercising my brain with more complicated thoughts. I’m not sure if I really want to write what I think of as “serious” writing here. I’d like to make my blogging more beautiful, but also to hang onto the more relaxed vibe. It’s going to take some soul-searching for me to decide if it’s possible to do that.
- Stepping Out from Behind a Pseudonym: Starting to Blog Under My Real Name (blogher.com)
- My journey of learning what it means to be literate and then becoming (somewhat) literate in Discourses. (ashleylyonseng1103.wordpress.com)
- The Psychology of Online Comments (newyorker.com)