Wednesday, February 14, 2007

How Not to Blog, Part 2

I think a commenter at The Zero Boss says it best.

"But engaging writers can generally get away with most anything..."

True dat, Paula. I completely agree. That, being said, let's see how much I can embarrass myself while pulling together yesterday's suggestions.

Don't blog about the weather: Or any of the minutia of your daily life. That's what diaries are for. Only the people who love you the most will be fascinated by your chore list.

My chore list right now includes taking down my Christmas tree. Top that, bitches!

Don't blog about other people's problems: One, they are not your stories to tell. And two, if people are coming to your blog to read about you, they don't care what your neighbors are doing. Unless it relates to you, leave it be.

But I can't leave this one be. A friend of a friend is currently (like right at this very moment) attending a Find a Last Minute Valentine party sponsored by these guys. He's too adorable to be competing for the attention of guys wearing "I'm ready for love!" t-shirts. Gay personals that treat you like a person? Great in theory. Needs some practice in execution.

Limit blogging about blogging: You never hear a bestselling author complain about how hard it was to write a book. Why would you let us know that you have nothing to write? Blogging about blogging is like talking about talking. Just do it. (Unless you're writing a brilliant post about blogging guidelines.) Ahem.

Memes are okay in small doses: We've all been tagged. And it can be fun. But a steady diet of memes makes you no better than a MySpace teenager.

Hell, people. This meme drove tons of traffic my way, thanks to FARB's arch nemesis. (Can I get away with saying nemesissy?) But I've also got bloggers linking to it and calling me a homophobic ass. (I take back the nemesissy.) I didn't write the damn thing. Interestingly, my husband was more angry about that then anything else that's ever been said here about me.

Unless you want to be an advertisement for YouTube, limit the number of videos: I don't know about you, but I never watch YouTube videos from blogs. I don't have that kind of time. If you feel strongly about it, and it is relevant to something you've written, go for it. But post after post of YouTube videos just isn't interesting to me.

Unless you lost a bet and have to go take this dance class. Then I'm going to be real interested and I'm going to post the video.

Don't tell inside jokes: That's what the telephone is for. You'll only insult your readers who aren't in on the joke. It's boring and tedious.

I'm so bored, I think I'll go make some rice. LOL. (Two with one stone.)

Don't gossip about other bloggers. Unless you're linking to their new porn: That's what e-mail is for. Except for my very best friends, I try not to ever blog about bloggers. It only leads to hurt feelings. It is interesting to me how many times I've had other bloggers think a post was about them, when it really wasn't.

For the record, if and when Patrick turns to porn to make rent money, I will post links. But I won't be watching myself. But I will watch him. (NSFW AT ALL!) I miss Billy's blog.

Do not use emoticons or texting abbreviations in your posts: Those are fine for comments and e-mail. But if you have to tell us that you're funny by typing LOL, you're probably not that funny to start with. Write appropriately.

Do not blog as therapy: Let's face it. Writing is therapeutic. But if all you ever do is write as though a therapist were listening, you probably need to invest the money and get some help. (On a serious note, I know nothing about the civilian sector, but I know the military has places you can go and people you can talk to. Start with your first shirt or a key spouse and go from there.)

Really excellent writers make you feel like you know them inside and out, while still maintaining a good bit of themselves just for themselves.

Do not go fishing: We're all guilty of this from time to time. It's best to be honest about it. Saying, "I need some positive reinforcement right now," is more interesting then boo hooing until all your faithful readers can fill you comments with compliments about how wonderful you are.

Let's check out my latest deep sea fishing expedition here, shall we?

Don't take yourself too seriously: We're not journalists. Or rock stars. Let's remember that anyone with access to a computer and an Internet connection can be a blogger. Lots of people around the world think blogging is a joke and bloggers are pathetic. If you're not writing for yourself and having fun, why are you doing this?

Do practice good blog linking karma: I try to link to everyone who links to me. But it can be hard to keep up. I only delete links if a blog hasn't been active for a couple of months. (Deleting a favorite link who hasn't been active can be heartbreaking, like losing an old friend.)

Do not beg: I remember a couple of years back there was quite a debate about how appropriate it was to post PayPal and Amazon wish list links. Personally, I don't care one way or the other. A good blogger can get away with just about anything.

And I completely support my friends who post about a charity project on their blogs. All those hits can generate some excellent support for wonderful causes. I've done it myself twice. But I wouldn't feel comfortable doing in more than a couple of times a year. That's why I pick and choose which charities I will support.

It also doesn't bother me in the least when people have advertising on their blogs. Unless it is so cumbersome that I can't read your content, have at it. But I won't ever have advertising here.

A while back I was lamenting to my husband that all these bloggers I know were getting cool swag. I wanted cool swag! Then I got a slew of offers. From tuna to evening gowns. And I just couldn't do it. This is my place to be irrepressibly me. Hits and money be damned. If I'm going to think twice about broaching such topics as dipping tampons in red wine then blogging just isn't worth it to me.

Do have fun: Unless your fun involves posting pictures of me drunk and drooling.

I think I sprained my ankle jumping down off this soapbox. And I promise, I've had my fill of blogging about blogging until...oh, whenever the mood strikes me again.

But if someone were to come up with Guidelines for Blog Readers, I'd sure as heck link to it.

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