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December 10, 2003

Do's and Don'ts of Blogging

Gothamist offers up some guidelines in What Not to Do When You Blog. Clearly, this site has been in violation of #2 - writing about oneself - for some time. There are personal blogs that I find engaging, because these people make interesting observations about their lives and write them well. But perhaps I'd do better to focus on the general topics of my site description.

The problem with being in the doldrums is that nothing seems interesting enough to write about, so the easiest thing is to write about oneself. Either that, even if it's a bit lazy, or abandon the blog, which I'd prefer not to do. Oh that's right - Gothamist deems "blog" an acceptable term no longer. I don't agree; the recommended "website" doesn't capture the nature of blogging, expansive and nebulous as that nature can be. "Weblog" should be fine, if referring to one's site as a "blog" is really so desperately precious or distasteful.

The fact that more people are embracing the medium doesn't mean the term should be declared over because it's become diluted or tainted by lesser talents. Hell, go to any open-mike night to see who abuses - and who deserves -the title of "poet."

Apart from the word making sense, it also sounds right. "Blog" seems fitting for a miscellaneous collection of entries which may or may not hold together topically. The term connotes the rawness and immediacy that often characterizes blog posts. Some blogs are more focused, such as many professionally oriented blogs, or those devoted to some particular personal interest. But other blogs, like this one, are intended to be a looser colloquy, representing a variety of interests. I do try to focus on the librariana, but I like having the flexibility to discuss other subjects, to be serious or frivolous, or sometimes both, as the mood strikes.

Before there were poorly conceived, badly written blogs, there were plenty of cheesy personal websites. At least blogs allow for easy, regular updating of content; how many of these original websites have become cobwebpages, abandoned yet ever ready to plague some poor misdirected visitor with annoying Geocities or Yahoo popups?

So enough with the excessive hand-wringing and Pepys-type entries; I shall retrench and find more interesting things to discuss than bellybutton lint.

Yours, &c., LC | 10:54 PM | Blogos | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

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Even professional blogs engaged exclusively with some topic can display the loose, shoot-from-the-hip character that makes blogging so interesting. Most of my blog reading is devoted to "blawgs," the legal strain of blogs written by law professors and practitioners, many of whom are inclined toward prolificacy by training. I find the unmediated reactions to and frank assessments of hot legal issues from these folks much more interesting than the coverage of same by even the most competent journalists.

Posted by: Scott at December 11, 2003 09:21 AM

You know, I really like Gothamist. However, I didn't really like a lot of the tone of that post the other day. A lot of the guidelines were good ones. I do think, however, that it's very possible to write about oneself and make it more interesting than the average sixteen year-old's Live Journal page. I don't write that much about myself but most of my positive feedback comes when I do. I disagree that "no one cares about you or the things you do." In the right context I think that readers really do care.

I think it's also important to determine why it is that you blog. Is it to entertain others? Perhaps to keep your writing skills polished? Maybe to keep a record of comings and goings simply for your own remembrance? It's probably a combination of some sort. It's your page. The rules and guidelines are yours alone.

Sorry for the rant. I have my own blog, I know...

Posted by: mrw at December 11, 2003 12:27 PM