Tag Archives: Blogging

Blogging, Journalism, and Platforms

It’s not exactly news that the art of journalism and journalism as a career has been on the decline for a number of years now. The fact is that the Internet has lowered our tolerance for well-written, comprehensive pieces of writing. We’re a part of generation that takes in information 140 characters at a time (Twitter) or in small doses (Tumblr). The concept of brevity has taken on a whole new form. What it means to be a journalist or a writer is something quite amorphous in present day. Of course, good writing, the level of writing we’d expect from a true journalist hasn’t altogether disappeared. Sure we might want to consume our news in the form of RSS reads, but when you’re looking for something in depth or opinionated, the importance of the journalist/writer hasn’t faded. This has gotten me thinking about what it means to blog.

There’s been a fairly active debate over the past couple of years in regard to whether bloggers should be held up to the same standards as a journalist. Do we expect bloggers to uphold the same level of grammatical correctness, cited source material, and general writing ability as we expect from a journalists or professional writers? My answer after having been an active blogger for a number of months now is that it depends. For me a blog is just simply a platform. We live in a time were there is a large number of publishing platforms that anyone can use to get their word out to the public. WordPress, Typepad, Blogger, Twitter, Sbtvle and any other number of online publishing platforms are available to practically anyone. You can hold a blogger up to the same expectations as a journalist if that is what the blogger is striving for. A blog doesn’t have to be formal though. I’ve noticed that I have a spectrum of formality in terms of where each of my blog posts falls. Whereas some of my posts are relatively short, quick, and informal, some of them tend to be much longer and written in the mindset of the writing of formal article or whatever it may be. You can be a blogger and be a true writer/journalist, but you can also be someone who is just looking discuss and put your opinion out there. It all depends and expectations have to be in line with the intentions of the writer. When all is said and done, writing is an art form. It’s something that can and is taught, but it’s also something that is free. A platform is a platform and a blogger is just a term for someone who writes online. How a blogger defines him/herself is what should set the expectations.

Top 5 Things I’ve Come to Realize About Blogging

1. Give Your Readers Something with Every Post

The number one realization shouldn’t really be all that surprising. It’s sort of human history to be drawn to free things for one, but more than this if we draw something positive from a piece of writing then we’re much more likely to see it as having been of value. The key isn’t to always tailor your writing to your audience (unless your looking for max clickthroughs), but rather to make sure that there’s a message or a takeaway with every post. From a writer’s perspective, keeping your sight on this can also help to focus your writing and give it purpose. If you what you’ve written lacks a message, then why did you write it? It’s an obvious concept. Give your readers something to try, something to look into, a different way of thinking or anything that they can use to potentially make a positive change in their life.

2. Be Authentic

We all have role models whether we’re aware of it or not and our role models influence our aspirations. I think that one of the worst things you can do is to write about something that you either don’t have a background in or lack a passion for. In general, people, I believe, are good at piecing out when someone is being sincere or insincere. If your writing is forced, than that will show. From the other side of the coin, why would you write about something that you felt indifferent towards? Writing is fueled by opinion and desire. If I’m ever writing about something and not enjoying myself as I type, then I know I lack interest in that particular subject and that usually ends up as an unfinished draft post on my dashboard. This still happens all of the time and I take it as a learning experience. The second this starts to taper off, then I’ll know what I’m most motivated about. In the meanwhile, as I find things I’m motivated about, I’ll continue to create new blogs or as is the case, I’ll create new blogs for the purpose of feeling out a particular interest. You’d likely be surprised to discover certain interests that you’ve never really given much attention to. Above all else make sure that your writing is authentic.

3. Never Reblog Without Adding Something to the Original Writing

I’m assuming that the re-blog feature of WordPress is relatively new and a response to features found in other micro-blogging, blogging, and social networking sites. I think that this feature itself is positive, but can be misused. If you’re constantly re-blogging then you’re likely using a blog as link bait. This really defeats the purpose of blogging. If this what you want to do, then by all means utilize a service like Pinterest or Twitter in order to share content of interest. If your blogging, then your intention should be to create original content. You start a blog because you have something to share. That being said the desire to reblog does come up. In this case, when you re-blog be sure to add something the content you want to share. It gives credit to the original author (and yes I know that still happens) and demonstrates why you’re singling out a certain blog post.

4. Blogging is a Great Way to Organize Your Thoughts

One of the things I’ve enjoyed about blogging, thus far, is that it really forces me to think about my beliefs and call into question certain things. It’s a great way to challenge my own thoughts and organize my thinking even before anyone has the opportunity to challenge what I have to say. If you’re looking for a way to focus in your thinking about a particular topic then you might actually want to consider blogging it. During the course of my college courses, I came across a handful of courses that required me to blog and I will say in these instances it wasn’t that effective, but only because it was a requirement. In that case, the blogging wasn’t authentic and was more of a chore than an actual exercise I could use to focus in my knowledge and thinking. It didn’t work because it wasn’t authentic, but if their is a class that’s challenging you, blogging may help. This is just one instance of many others.

5. It’s Really Interesting to Look at WordPress (or any blogging plaform) Statistics

One of the things that I find really interesting is seeing which posts are popular, where the hits are coming from, and the diversity of people who share an interest in any particular topic. It’s really fascinating and it’s a great feeling to know that your writing not only benefited you, but another person. Even just looking through all of the blogs on WordPress, you come to realize that there’s a lot of great content out there aside from the mainstream. Sure, blogs like Lifehacker and Gizmodo are really great. I check them regularly, but you never know which blogger our there might hold much more knowledge and a stronger viewpoint on a particular topic. Mainstream blogs cover a wide breadth of topics, but smaller blogs have the luxury of being able to specialize on a certain topic. Take the time to wander around WordPress.

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