What is a blog? What should a blog be? What’s your blog’s point?
Well one of the original bloggers, Jorn Barger, gives his views in this Wired article. Some of his points I agree with, some don’t make sense and take the power and bite out of the collective production and sway of the blog.
At it’s best blogging is a production of original content and thought, it also has a great deal of mindshare which leads to real world change. Don’t get me wrong here, I know 1% of blogs are producing original content and are worth reading but they are good. So here’s my analysis of the Wired articles top 10 tips for new bloggers and then what I consider to be the 5 golden rules of blogging:
1. A true weblog is a log of all the URLs you want to save or share. (So del.icio.us is actually better for blogging than blogger.com.)
Yes but that is limiting any form of expression or content generation.
2. You can certainly include links to your original thoughts, posted elsewhere … but if you have more original posts than links, you probably need to learn some humility.
Or you are someone producing content that others can link to. WTF? If everyone was just linking, what would they be linking to? Each others links? Someone needs to be writing original content, and that is something that a blog can be for. You can write and still have humility you know.
3. If you spend a little time searching before you post, you can probably find your idea well articulated elsewhere already.
Reposting others content verbatim is pretty worthless. I know I’ve done it too when I’ve not had time to add my input to a post. He seems to be saying here that it isn’t worth saying something if someone else has already said it before. If your thoughts are yours, express them.
4. Being truly yourself is always hipper than suppressing a link just because it’s not trendy enough. Your readers need to get to know you.
That’s a good one. Write about what you like, not what you think others will like. It will make you more engaging and passionate; meaning your readers will enjoy your site more.
5. You can always improve on the author’s own page title, when describing a link. (At least make sure your description is full enough that readers will recognize any pages they’ve already visited, without having to visit them again.)
Be descriptive when linking, that makes sense too.
6. Always include some adjective describing your own reaction to the linked page (great, useful, imaginative, clever, etc.)
Doesn’t this conflict somewhat with #2? Isn’t giving your view adding originality? Bah. Anyway, when you repost someone else’s content add to it. This is one of what I believe is the golden rules. See 7 for another golden rule.
7. Credit the source that led you to it, so your readers have the option of “moving upstream.”
Attribute, never steal, always remember cite your source. Wait, I have more on this, no skipping on to 8 yet. When you cite your upstream source link to the original, not a middle-man site. Here’s an example: You read something on BoingBoing that you blog about on your site, do NOT link to the BoingBoing post. Follow the BoingBoing post upstream to find where the original article (or definitive article) is, and link to that.
8. Warn about “gotchas” — weird formatting, multipage stories, extra-long files, etc. Don’t camouflage the main link among unneeded (or poorly labeled) auxiliary links.
Only do this when your link is likely to cause issues. When you link to video, audio or a strange file format for example.
9. Pick some favorite authors or celebrities and create a Google News feed that tracks new mentions of them, so other fans can follow them via your weblog.
Oh yes, the cult of the celebrity must be fed. Blerg. If you must, feel free, this is not something I would advocate.
10. Re-post your favorite links from time to time, for people who missed them the first time.
That’s a good point and not something I’m doing right now. (Makes note). So I have some take aways from this, and I know that I need to brush up on my blogging skills too. This is a useful post for me to refer back to, I hope it is for you too.
So here’s my short and handy golden list:
The 5 Golden Rules of Blogging
1. Be original, produce content.
2. Your content should matter to you.
3. Always cite, but cite the middleman and the original source.
4. Link, but add your spin. Never just link without adding something.
5. Warn about video, audio or strange file links and Not Safe For Work (NSFW) content.