Tuesday, April 26, 2005

BlogLife

I like watching the blog memes that make the rounds. Most are fun, creative, and good conversation starters. Like horoscopes, the ones that try to predict or pigeonhole your future shouldn't be taken too seriously. Remember the What Kind of Novel Should I Write quiz? I took that one to see how it labeled me. The site crashed.

While tracking memes, I watch other types of posts and patterns of posts. Blogs seem to go through the same stages some romantic relationships do. In the beginning, it's all new and wonderful. There's experimentation and a lot of expression. Then things begin to settle down into a comfortable routine. If something sets one off, one can indulge in a rant but later apologize for it.

Some boredom follows. How many times have you seen "I don't feel like posting" posts? That's the blog version of "Honey, I have a headache." Some of the charm of blogging wears off, so this is where memes become very popular. But you can only do so many memes, and gradually days pass by without any posting.

Days turn into weeks. A sudden, guilty "I haven't posted in a month, two months, six months" post pops up. That spurs some half-hearted efforts to keep it going, but it's never the same as it was. Eventually stagnation sets in, then disinterest, and the blog goes static or disappears.

Keeping the blog alive, fresh, and interesting is a challenge for everyone. Some ideas on how to spruce up your netspace:

1. Be curious. Go bloghopping, see what others are discussing. Rather than comment on another blog, take the subject back to your own and post your opinions (linking back to the source is standard blog etiquette.)

2. Surf some blog monitoring sites, like Intelliseek's Blogpulse.com, which offers a search engine and up-to-date info on the most popular blogs, links, topics and people out there.

3. Don't make it all about you. People who only blog about themselves and nothing else seem to run out of steam faster than other bloggers.

4. Incorporate a little humor into your blog. Deadly serious blogs are generally deadly boring ones. Lighten up.

5. You've heard that if you want to seriously rant, you should write the rant but wait 24 hours before you post it. Why not do that with all your posts? Most of what I write on PBW is posted as a draft 24 to 48 hours in advance.

6. Stock up on spare entries. Write and save drafts of posts for days when you don't feel like posting.

7. Ask your readers what they'd like you to post. Tell Mom in advance that you're not going to write about how much you adore the purple sequined beaded lampshade your Aunt Frances sent you for your birthday.

8. Take what you dish out. It's easy to joke about other people, but it gradually comes off mean-spirited if you don't poke a little fun at yourself now and then.

9. Be honest. If you're censoring yourself to the point of where you only post nice happy posts, then you're boring us and yourself.

10. If you don't have something to talk about, offer links to other interesting sites. I never feel like posting on Mondays, which is why it became Ten Things Day around here.

9 comments:

  1. That is excellent advice.

    I thought I was the only one who wrote 'reserve' posts for use in case of creative failure!

    M

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  2. Excellent info for the newbie blogger! I'm still thinking of my blog as a diary, which for private posts it can be, but those posts aren't always interesting to most people (or the five people reading my blog anyway). Your advice will give me a new approach.

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  3. I've been blogging for over half a year now and haven't run out of things to say. Then again, I tend to talk too much in real life, too:-). But I do get lots of ideas from cruising other blogs, so I definitely agree with that suggestion!

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  4. "Remember the What Kind of Novel Should I Write quiz? I took that one to see how it labeled me. The site crashed."

    Well, I guess it was accurate, then.

    As for the suggestions, excellent, as always.

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  5. Wonderful advice!

    I do the Create & Save when I find loads of things to comment about, and save them for the dry spells.

    My blog today is quizzes and things stolen from other peoples sites.

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  6. I have a notebook in the car so when the ideas hit me, I can write at the lights.
    My children, patients, dogs, hubby, multiple personalities and current events usually bail me out when I run dry of posts.

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  7. Great list! I think I'll link to this and comment on some of the suggestions but right now it's my bedtime. :-)

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  8. Great advice, I even took the time to link to this particular entry in one of my own so other Blogger users can help make their blogs more successful and fruitful.

    The advice given by this article and this one from Blogger shouldn't go astray, though.

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  9. The best writing tells you something you already know [they say] and I found myself nodding in amazement when I read your intro. How absolutely bang-on! I'm currently in the 'I have a headache' phase with my blog - but just seeing it defined that way has, I believe, managed to yank me out of the doldrums. Thanks a bunch! :)

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