The Seasoned Blog.
Blogs, otherwise known as online diaries or web journals, are the hottest thing on the Internet today.
Virtually everyone surfing the net on a regular or semi-regular basis either has a blog themselves, or has spent time reading blogs.
There’s just something about the raw exposure of this “reality internet” that is attractive to people.
But the other hand, there’s a vulnerability involved with baring your essentials for the world to feed on in their spare time.
Plenty are the numbers of scorned souls, bleeding hearts, and wounded spirits who have fallen prey to online predators with negative intent. One of two things usually happens to set back or scare off those who are new to the blogging scene.
The blog won’t “take off” and isn’t popular and doesn’t stand out in the multitude of seasoned blogs, or the new blogger will get caught up in the excitement of it all, get too comfortable, expose a secret, and then live to regret it when the wrong person finds the post on the web.
But the seasoned blogger will tell you: you must find your own creative flavor, and then merge it with good common sense in order to deliver an enticing enough blog to the public without jeopardizing privacy or self-respect.
The first problem new bloggers generally face is what to write.
They have read and been entertained by other blogs, and they want their blog to be just as interesting and entertaining, but don’t want to expose anything personal, don’t have any creative insights to express, and aren’t sure how to get the words moving.
Here are a few ideas for subjects to get you started that are “safe” concepts to explore and display in public forums, such as blogs:
– Find a quote generator or use a quote book to find random quotations. When you find a quotation that strikes your fancy, copy it down, and then write 400 words or 20 minutes about what your thoughts are regarding the quote.
– Write about books you’re reading and how they make you feel.
– Write about movies you’ve seen recently, and whether or not you liked them.
– Write about your favorite music.
– Write about your funniest moments.
– Write about favorite childhood memories.
The second problem new bloggers encounter is frustration when there’s not enough traffic or response to their blog.
There are things you can do to improve public interaction and invite comment.
Make sure you use catchy titles that will change people’s attention from mere initial curiosity to recognition or identification with the subject matter. The title is the first “taste” the viewer gets of the flavor of your blog.
A catchy title reels them in.
Your first paragraph should further entice the reader and draw them in to the post. If the first paragraph is boring, confusing, or somehow offensive, the viewer will close the screen and move on to the next blog.
Try posting questions within the body of your blog entry, such as, “Can you believe this guy?” or “Is she for real?” It may seem like an innocent, rhetorical question to self, or “cyber-space”, but the viewer is more likely to answer if a question has been stated somewhere in the post.
Make your blog attractive. Dress it up with bells and whistles while at the same time making it easy to navigate. Adding photos, colors, designs, favorite quotes, jokes, favorite links, or other trinkets and treasures make the viewer want to stay and play.
Consider posting quizzes and fun games that can be interactive with readers, such as online quizzes they can take themselves, or “games” they can play along with you. One woman kept a blog and communicated with those posting on her blog message boards.
After she’d identified her following, a group of people who were staying with her and revisiting the blog, she hosted a “jeopardy” type game in which she quizzed the viewers on facts disclosed in former diary entries. All the participants had a great time and continue to go back to her blog.
Update your blog often, adding new interesting topics, conversations, and interactive activities. People have a tendency to stop visiting a site that looks the same every time they visit. Keep it active, mix it up.
Take the time to visit the blogs hosted by people who frequent your blog. It’s only polite and spreads the love around. If someone has been to your blog and has posted to you a few times, it would only be right for you to visit their blog and make a few posts.
If they don’t have their blog information listed where you can find it, such as in a user profile, and then ask them directly if they have one. They’ll be honored you reached out to them personally. If you don’t repay the kindness and show courtesy to your fellow bloggers, they’ll get bored with you and go elsewhere. Many bloggers intentionally seek out friendships in this way and for this purpose.
A seasoned blogger will tell you that there are risks involved with keeping blogs.
Blogs are often used for raw expressions, venting, or for working through difficult situations. In many cases, things are stated that are later regretted. When the blogger has an unidentifiable screen name and no personal information disclosed, the risks are less, but the blog is less interesting to users.
However, many people host blogs that have their first and last name, hometown, and other personal information that identify them to viewers.
In cases where your identity is not hidden, there are things you can do to help protect yourself from internet dangers.
Use common sense and never post your home address or telephone number in a public forum.
Use nick names or pseudonyms for every person of whom you speak in your blog entries, including kids, spouses, friends, and the schmuck at work who pissed you off this morning. Don’t use real names when talking about other people online. It can and will come back to haunt you.
Learn to speak or write in ways that use metaphors and imagery to explore subjects that can’t be disclosed but need to be expressed.
If your first and last name are appearing on or can be discovered within the content of your blog, do not confess to doing anything illegal or immoral. It can be used against you.
There are plenty of free blogs available online, and an immeasurable amount of how to articles or 0pinionated prose on blogs, online diaries, and web journals.
What are you waiting for?
Get yourself a free blog, deck it out with the bells and whistles, adorn it with groovy titles and fun challenges, produce it with common sense, maintain it with integrity, and enjoy the “reality internet” wave of blogging.
Before you know it, you, too, will be a seasoned blogger.
Image Credit – Foxtongue