Good Blog. Good Blog
What started out a few years ago as a simple post on a website, blogs have really turned into a must-have feature in online presence. It is almost a given that we have blogs, podcasts - and now, vlogs - as standard features on pretty much all types of websites. But, what makes a good blog?
I recently came across an online discussion from a respected colleague's site (rhymes with "Peek-Up") where it was noted that the blogs contained therein were losing quality and basically turning into crap. I don't really know the details surrounding such a statement, nor do I really want to. The point is, why would someone critique and criticize content that is basically free-form and and a journal entry, in essence? Aren't we able to write down our thoughts and ideas in this virtual format for others to read and add to without being judged, ridiculed, or otherwise panned? Who are these "blog police" and do we even need them?
In my view, a blog is part of the social movement on the internet. In such a short time, there has been a loss in personal interaction due to our virtual world that it seems natural, at least to me, that a social component would spring up in our online lives. Hence, the proliferation and popularity of social sites. Of course, we had chat rooms and instant messaging in the early days, but, the social content and motivation in that environment was more, let's say, primal and of one, basic human need, in many cases. So, we needed to have a way to communicate with each other in our own voices on topics that interested us - as well as allow others to chime in and offer additional information or their own stories.
What makes a successful blog, you may (or may not) ask? In my view, a blog should have the following components:
1. compelling information
2. a human touch
3. personality - at least a little humor
4. a safe opportunity for others to participate
5. links or other avenues for further information, if the reader desires
I'm sure there are more, but this is my take on the whole matter.
What makes a blog a blog is the human element - a personal touch. That may mean, in some instances, a mispelled word or two, or even an incomplete sentence. It may even have some (shudder the thought!) bad grammar. That's OK, in my opinion. I don't think we need to dissect and correct each person's entry in a blog - we do that enough in our real lives. It's nice to give that part of our brains a rest at times. If we don't make it safe for others to post comments or ideas on our blogs, then what good is there? It is the same thing as reading a piece in a design magazine from an expert who seems to know everything on a certain topic and forces us to accept everything in it as the final word. That's just the way it is in that forum, but it doesn't allow for more instant communication from the audience.
I guess it would be a good idea for the person who writes the initial blog entry and posts it to have a little understanding of the topic on which he or she is writing and at least a grasp of spelling and grammar - but, maybe not. It may cause the author to lose some credibility, but at least we get to know their personality and humanness.
OK, so a blog is really neither "good" nor "bad", in my view. It is a subjective and relative thing. So, let's hear it for ALL the bloggers out there! Some who may be professional writers, some who feel very passionate about the subject on which they write, some who don't have any other outlet on which to state their view, and still some who may be working on their spelling and grammar in real time and desire to have an electronic journal. Let's give them all the chance, and freedom, to do their thing. Blog on, people! Blog on!