Sunday, August 22, 2010

How Does You Blog?

The Bomber's Dozen will be back next weekend. Instead, here's some smug advice:

I've been around Blogger. Well, I had to be; if you own a blog, you're bound to have scoured the lands in search for ways to cyber flash your tits for cyber Mardi Gras beads.


The mediocrity I'll run into on Blogger though can be kind of annoying. Well, it's not so much mere mediocrity as it is the way there's a million of the same blogs over and over again. I'll (to my own disdain) avoid linking any particular blogs here, but holy shit, you don't know how often I've seen blogs with the header "The Story of..." or "My life..." or "The Ramblings of" or any dramatic lead-in.

Along with this is how below the novella header lies the same poop dollop of words verbally wreaking about how they woke up and found out Amy was happily pregnant and Zack had a lot of trouble in math class.

Such thrilling suburban adventures.

Now look, it's not to say that you can't write about your life. But rather, if you do, try to weave the writing to maximize its level of intrigue. A few months ago, in a post called "BEST BLOGS EVER!!", I'd complimented India Volkers' "but it turned out I hadn't" for doing just that. Again, here's an excerpt (...Of an excerpt) from that fantastic piece of blogging "Cheer Me Up":

"....the perfect opportunity to organise a nice coffee with an old friend, in which they inform you through a series of awkward unfinished sentences that you are essentially friend-dumped owing to the complexities of boy/girl friendships, the inextricability of past from present and a girlfriend who is 'NOT A PROBLEM'...The rest of the week has largely been passable in the South East, perhaps a five point five rising to a seven in places, but approached with a vaguely droll smile and shadowed by generally vast and looming exam-shaped shadows...."

I've read that over like 8 times and still find myself amazed by how she took an unoriginal conversation with her friend and her mundane day experiences and turned it into a literary gold chalice with a pimp drinking out of it.

A pinnacle in storytelling.

That post could've easily gone like this:

"Yesterday me and Jake were out and he sat me down. We had a nice coffee (it's so funny how we always have coffee) but he started telling me things about his girlfriend. It came out of nowhere! I was wondering where he was going with this and that's when he said that his girlfriend had been worried about me! I mean seriously! He swears that she's "not a problem" or whatever but guys, if an old friend does that, what would you think???

Yeah exactly!"

I wanna punch my taint for writing that.

In case you didn't know.

And I am, indeed, a unicorn.

Anyways, Volkers is the "DO" of this post. But instead of a hypothetical, here is a real and random "DON'T" from the Blogger universe:

"I didn't get to see Adam all morning. He worked overtime this morning and got off right as I was leaving for work. As I pulled up, one minute before my shift starts, I see Adam's car parked in the lot. He came to see me just for a quick hug and brought me a sweet tea. :] He sure does know how to make me feel special. Love.him."

You know how thoughts are voiced by yourself in your brain? Mine just yelled "AAAUUUGGGHHHH". It hasn't stopped.

Instead of vaguely reacting to that slice of boring, here's exactly what's wrong with it:
  • No one really knows who Adam is.
  • She didn't preface the post with anything that would make us care about Adam.
  • Even if she did, the moment she's typing about has been in a movie a million times.
  • And finally, she wrote it at an 8th grade level.

Okay, maybe she established Adam in an earlier set of blogs. But what good is that to new readers? And even so, this isn't hooking them into reading earlier blogs about Adam.

Now I'm sure this girl is sweet and that Adam is just a lovely man, but to write about it so simply is to imply it is worth caring about, and nothing about it has been made worth caring about. Especially when you ended it like a tagline for "Eat. Pray. Love."

Love. It. Love. Him. Shoot. Self.

So what should you do to avoid this? For starters, if you're gonna post about your life, pick and choose the life situations you're going to blog about. Run it through your head and think, "If I were telling a stranger this story, would he just pity laugh the whole way through?".

Secondly, since you can't dramatically act out the scene on the Internet, try to write the moment in the most clever, descriptive and succinct way possible. For example, in my Barista blog, I give the Barista's obligations a sense of depth and intrigue as I quickly describe the principles of Starbucks and the intricacies of its drinks. This piques the reader's interest, and gives my chosen story a stronger mystique. Thus, making it worth posting.

Or as interesting as milk jizz and sugar can be.

Third, humor is your best friend. Even if you can't turn your daily life into Shakespeare, using humor can make your post overall more likable. It doesn't even have to be so witty; the fact that you have used humor shows that you are trying to make a friendly connection with the reader, as opposed to smugly implying we should care about your PMS drivel.

I shouldn't think "Always" when I'm reading.

Red Means Go does a great job at this, where she uses self-deprecation and witty drawings to humorously jacket her topics and stories. It's not the greatest piece of writing I've read on Blogger, but it's definitely the one with the most understanding and tactile use of humor.

Lastly, pictures are the greatest weapon any Blogger has. Utilizing pictures, be it pictures of yourself or pictures of other things, provides a visual element for the reader to be entertained by. The right pictures also give the blog post a sense of life, and accentuate the blog's message, allowing it to drive it in deeper than words can. Like how me and Ms. I Change My Name Like I'm A Repeatedly Rejected Dog use pictures of children often to counter the caustic sarcasm and keep things tongue-in-cheek.

And to remind them that we have candy in our van.

A great example of this, even though she doesn't actually write much in between, is the blog georgetown. She often takes pictures of her romps through life. Mere writing may make these experiences uninteresting and redundant. But the pictures provide an aura for her site and for herself, making it infinitely more interesting for the reader than it could've been.

So let's go through it again:

  1. People don't care about Adam.
  2. No seriously they don't.
  3. Use colorful and descriptive language. Makes it less boring.
  4. Try to be funny. Makes you likable.
  5. Always use pictures. Gives your writing life.

And remember, always add a heaping dose of your own personality. This is what will make your site unique. These guidelines provide a blueprint, but the architecture is up to you. So always try to be the most you that you can be when you blog.

Seriously. It's that simple.

And there you go, you (should) have a decent blog that stands out from the hundreds of "Story of My Special Vagina" blogs, and won't make me gossip about you in an elongated blog like a high school girl.

1 comment:

  1. oh dear, I think I might be one of the guilty ones!!!