I love reality TV, even though there is nothing realistic about it. I don’t imagine most people ending up on an island voting off the people perceived as threats. We’re too comfortable in my suburban bliss.
We all love the twists and turns of a good story. There’s nothing like seeing the hero triumph over the odds, or the horror of an unexpected twist. The drama, the relationships and actions that border on the real and surreal keep us coming back for more.
And so it goes with blogging as well.
I haven’t been a good blogger. I don’t write as much, and I don’t read as much. When I do read, don’t take the time to leave thoughtful comments or share it out on Twitter. I just don’t care for that any more.
But I do love watching the drama between bloggers.
The one true way to blog
Somewhere along my ten years as a blogger, I missed that there is one true way to blog. The one true way to blog is known only to bloggers with an ego bigger than their Facebook page. When they see something that they disagree with, they immediately dismiss it, because it does not fit within the one true way to blog. Typically, the one true way to blog dismisses the post in a line-by-line break down of everything that is wrong with the offending blog post
And if you want to learn more about the one true way to blog, you can buy their ebook, or subscribe to their exclusive community of like-minded professionals.
Finding your own way
Everyone blogs differently. Some of us write. Some of us post photos. Others draw comics. Some sit in front of a camera or microphone, recording everything.
And that’s what makes the internet so powerful. Through our words and creations, we can all find ways to express ourselves. For every person drilled in AP style, there’s another who is writing her first post.
Your way will be different than my way. Maybe you will be helpful. Maybe you’ll be funny. Maybe you’ll be both, and post a great video while you’re at it.
The key is to experiment and find what you enjoy. When you enjoy it, you’ll stick with it. And when you stick with it, you’ll see results.
There’s always something new to learn. Something new to try. But if you get bogged down within the one true way to blog, you’ll never get anywhere.
Bloggers aren’t journalists.
- When a blogger accepts a gift as compensation and another gift to give away, that isn’t journalism.
- When a blogger spews her or her point of view with no facts, that isn’t journalism.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a blogger’s perspective and opinions. Just don’t forget they’re not out for factual accuracy and have an agenda to fulfill.
I’ve been paying attention to a few personal blogs that have become less than personal.
In our world of constant publishing, we’re all playing a desperate game chasing Internet celebrity and a meaningless personal brand. I get that.
But what I don’t get is when every single post on your-name.com is a guest post from some no name hack. These posts claim to be written by some VP or CXO you’ve never heard of. Because someone’s title is supposed to lend them credibility.
In reality, we all know these guest posts were we written by a copywriter locked working from his or her apartment. The blogger is off hustling for money, and the rest of us are tired of reading content that has the appeal of a cold pile of vomit.
Is the personal blog the best place for a guest post? I don’t think so. I don’t run guest posts on here because of this very reason. I refuse to dilute myself for someone else’s glory.
What part of yourself are you willing to sacrifice for someone else’s Internet glory?
Social media birthed a cult of engagement.
The engagement cult believes that no matter what, you need to respond to the mentions of your brand on social media.
- Have a comment? Better respond to it.
- Unfounded customer complaint on Twitter? Better answer it.
- Shitty product review? Better acknowledge it.
And so on.
The problems of the world will be solved if we simply engage them head on with a half-hearted line of text.
But this isn’t true.
For many brands, the sheer volume of mentions across media, both social and otherwise, is just too much for them to respond to in any kind of reasonable fashion.
Other companies operate in a regulated industry. For them, they are extremely limited in what they can, and cannot say.
Imagine this: Someone is accusing your company of murder. But because of regulations, you can’t share any details of the situation with the accuser. What do you do?
The answers suddenly aren’t so simple.
And that’s where the cult of engagement falls apart. You can’t just acknowledge every problem away. Or sometimes, even when you do engage, you can’t solve every problem. Not everyone will be happy just because they got another reply on Twitter.
I believe in the power of the publisher. I believe that power carries responsibility.
But I don’t believe that communication solves every problem.
Acknowledgement is the first step. Dialogue follows that. But action is what truly solves problems.
I am a terrible writer.
I use curse words. My paragraphs are two sentences. I almost always miss typos and grammar errors.
Still, for all my flaws, I hate how you write.
You try to impress complete strangers. You take too long to get to the point. Your Facebook posts are longer than War and Peace. You try to use long words to sound smarter than you are.
We live in a world of constant content. We birth millions of ideas, only to let them die within an instant.
Quality has fallen by the wayside for quantity. The only thing we can hope for is the serendipity that a post, an image or a video catches on.
That’s not to stop you from writing long content. Maybe you want that word to contain a few extra syllables. But what’s stopping you from sharing that one good idea right now?
Don’t let yourself get caught up in the intricacies of an idea and examples.
Write like nobody is reading.
Just push publish.