The Blogs We Want, And Why We Want Them

Time to bring this forward again, after reading a really timely and excellent post @ Intellectuelle and further on @ Nicholas Carr’s blog, Roughtype. In fact, these posts are going into a new direction, enough that while bringing this forward, I think I will make a new post to collate my own thoughts on what blogging, and the good blog, is today. Because I need to know 🙂
Updating and then reposting … also linked permanently on the sidebar

The beginning of a compilation of thoughts from…anyone who wants to answer, but how nice to start out with poetic and insightful bloggers. ( which have dropped down in the list due to updates.)

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As blogging moves along its maturity cycle, I find things are changing in both styles and interest. Blogs are becoming more sophisticated, even though a huge substrata retains its rough edged diary look and feel. I predicted that this is the way blogs would evolve, following the steps of personal websites. I think the goal of creating a business environment contributes to this. That requires more of a polished presentation. But blogging is still wide open and there are lots of people who want to start…. anyone with opinions on what they like or dislike are welcome to add opinions in the comments- please do! Despite the spammers I keep this comments string open. Yes, spammers are a part of the blog experience, too- unfortunately.

To keep things interesting for those who have read this , but want the new material, I will start to add the updates from the top, OK?
UPDATE: 8/22/06
Written in counterputal style, Shel Israel,of Naked Conversations, writes this post, Open Letter to Nick Carr, which weights relevance heavily. This is a matter that will be impacted by your choice of niche, and probably the shifting interests of the times.

Shel: “Like the rest of us, if Seth wants to be an A-lister, he needs to not just do the right mechanical things, he needs to interest enough people enough of the time. He needs to have readers enthusiastic enough about what he has to say that they link to him and talk about him and catch his passion and get valuable information and insights on things they care about. In short, he needs to be relevant.”

UPDATE: 3/22/06
This time padawan.info
presents “David Weinberger about blogs”, with some interesting observations.
Some of the ones I liked best:

  • Our blog is ourself in the public space (our body in the new public space)
  • We write badly and it’s ok, it exposes more of us, you’re allowed to make mistakes (it’s human, adds intimacy with readers)
  • Journalists think that bloggers are narcissists, but they never make any links to other sites except for ads! On the contrary bloggers are very generous in giving lots of links-love (the net is about hyperlinks)
  • Brand < Reputation < Relationship
  • Blogs are here to stay, they’re co-creation, 2-way conversations
  • The blogosphere is a huge focus group (“a defocus group”)
  • PR should be Public Relationships
  • What to do? Listen, Audit, Engage, Give up control(*) (*)Blogging policy: 1. sound like a human being 2. be a human 3. engage, don’t defend 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. be transparent 10. link, link, link…
  • Do you want people to talk about you?

Ok, we got it:) I think everyone emphasizes the importance of linking. With the post “Stumbling Upon” the importance of understanding what “public” really means in the internet age ; highlighted by that thought, “Our blog is ourself in the public space”.

The fact that this is interpersonal action is what separates it from the Academic ways of writing. And opens us, and our writing style and ideas for public criticism. -Just good things to keep in mind when you ‘tryon’ blogging.

UPDATE: 9/11/05
I keep adding to the collection:) Greg Wallace reports on Blogger Survey Results. One of the findings was:

“Gender differences were located in many aspects of blogging. Men claim higher approval of information motivation while women endorse self-documentation, self-expression, and passing time more.”

I think that tends to be true just because I think women tend to get emotionally involved with information. So even when dealing with news, we get more into blogging it on the editorializing of its impact, or our view of it. Men want to see what each other is thinking, more. That sort of mirrors conversation styles that are used in comedy so much.

UPDATE: 9/09/05
UPDATE: 8/21/05
Irina @ The IgNoble Experiment has a list of desired blogging traits:

  1. To maintain an open environment.

    I can’t stand blogs where I don’t have an option to leave a comment, even if I really disagree with what is being said.

  2. To post regularly:
    Not necessarily daily…
  3. To practice intellectual honesty:
    By remaining open-minded, listening to other points of views, reevaluating one’s own position, arguing one’s real position or perhaps playing the devil’s advocate, but avoiding hypocrisy and flattery. And of course, admitting one’s mistakes.
  4. Keeping the balance:
    Between remembering one’s audience and writing for oneself.
  5. A good blogger is able to find a right tone and to avoid raising unnecessary passions.

~these were some of the hilights…like all good bloggers she had more to say. this one found via Carl , an example of an EXCELLENT blogger.
UPDATE: 8/05/05
Newest update for improving your blog or the understanding of blogging is:
A Suggested Protocol for Blog Communication from Info Theory. Basic overview which links to articles on blog etiquette. Info says “Trackbacked sites and posts should conform to the source blog’s sourcing policy” which I find difficult to understand how to implement properly. Lots of us are low-tech and imprecise enough that we don’t keep track of each bloggers personal policy. I think this is only a problem that would grow given that the blogosphere is growing so fast with such easy entry. I viewed this piece of advice as something sophisticated semi-professional bloggers would follow. You never know when you might become serious about your blogging, though, and in the event that you are using it as a journalistic platform this is probably something to keep in mind.

Of course, that was only one point on the list. One main point was “The role of the author is as a host to a party. The role of the commenter is to be a respectful guest.” which garnered the attention of Cao, who is due a H/T.

UPDATE: 7/17
It is time to update again. I have new sources thanks to Julie.
Julie Leung and her husband are accomplished bloggers. She regularly writes on the subject of blogging with expertise and enjoyable enthusiasm. This post,”set of guidelines for parents and children interested in blogging “, takes you beyond the basics, and leads into exploring many aspects of blogging that you probably haven’t considered. It is also a helpful guide to blogging etiquette. Which you might want to know about before you break the rules. Just so no one is surprised.

UPDATE: 7/12
The Evangelical Outpost addresses statistics and behavior in blogging. He quotes David Bayley: “It’s amazing how a ranking instrument such as Truth Laid Bear or Technorati or Site Meter almost automatically turns us into statistics-addicted influence seekers.”
Is this the dark side of blogging, or merely natural human response to checking on one’s progress?
UPDATE: 6/04
Coding Horror: Blogging about Blogging feels :
* you have to want to write
* you have to believe you have something to say
* you have to have an interesting way of saying it

and then makes the observation,”Blogs are interesting because they are honest windows into other people’s interests and passions.” These he quotes from Rory who has a good deal to say on it, while making some additions of his own including the need for comments.

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First, on the list, was Bernard Higgins of Certain Slant of Light because he inspired this post. His post should be added to your _must read_ , he gives you his full heart. What Makes a Blog Interesting To You
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John Ballard fit some thoughts on what he thinks about blogs on this Morning Reading and Rant
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UPDATE: 4/16

No Oil For Pacifists has concise rundown: Blog Audience
Extremely well thought out and helpful from a rather good blogger.
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Keely wonders why people like her blog and gets some comments:

“your blog is interesting because it is real.- Hailey”

” I look for writing, humorous or not,-Tish”

“I only regularly read blogs that I can relate to in some way…either the person or the subject matter of the writing. – Izzy”

” Content would be the 2nd thing that would interest me. the first would be layout. – Lisa”
and finally, there’s Pablo: “It’s the ying you your yang my dear.”
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UPDATE: 5/28
Dust my Broom – Just us Bloggers eh! has two main points, but lots of detailed info:
1. Links Links Links
2. Good Research which includes looking at the other side.
I would say his view applies especially to news and political opinion blogs.

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Continue reading The Blogs We Want, And Why We Want Them

Adrian’s Blog asks: Are You an Influential Blogger?

In his post ‘Are You an Influential Blogger?’, Adrian Warnock lists some criteria of blogging influence. I liked it.

It turns your head around a bit if you give it the thought it deserves. In a way, we all influence the people we touch each day, and I don’t think we consider that so much (at least most of us don’t). How do we react to the clerk at the store? Who saw us speak gently/sharply to our children that day? In the way we influenced our children and spouse, who was touched by their resulting attitudes? The ripple is far larger than we like to think.

In the same way, we blog for influence. Some of us consciously, and some unconsciously, but whatever we place on a public page has potential. In fact, that is probably one of the more jarring wake-up calls I had as a denizen of the internet. Those people across the screen get affected by my words and moods and mistakes. Sometimes the feedback shows I really messed up someone’s day… and sometimes I really brightened it. We do have influence…. all the time, in ways we can’t truly quantify.

And I appreciated Adrian’s reminder today. It may not be a life changer, but line upon line reminders make an ultimate difference. And who knows whether today is the day that God speaks something big to someone through you?
Continue reading Adrian’s Blog asks: Are You an Influential Blogger?