When I first started blogging, I don’t think it was even called “blogging” then. You just had a webpage – a GeoCities webpage at that! Remember those days? I remember that I was too broke to afford Dreamweaver or Frontpage so I learned from scratch using HTML, and when I did, I ended up posting these HUGE, I mean, humongous pictures of everything – especially myself.
Thank goodness, I sobered up and took those Glamour Shots pictures down. Hopefully no one saved them in their hard drives…
Well, since then I’ve blogged off and on about life, wedding blues (more like panic), knitting, spinning wool, travel, and having a baby. But that was all done before WordPress, when lo and behold, I found that there’s actually a real community of bloggers just like me!
But just like any community, there are certain things I’ve learn along the way that’s unique to the WordPress – or in this case, general blogging – experience. Here are just a few things I’ve learned from having my writing blog and my fangirl/review-a-movie-when-I-feel-like-it blog (apparently, fangirling has way more politics than you can ever believe so we won’t even go there).
- Write what you know – or even what you don’t know. Basically, just write. It’s your blog. It’s your home on the internets.
- Say hello to your visitors. Respond to their comments, even if it’s just to say ‘thank you.’ And if they have their own blog, please check it out and if you like what you see, click “like” on a post, or even better, follow their blog so that you’ll get updated on their latest posts. I always like learning about how other people live and the blogging community has allowed me to do that!
- Not all visitors and followers are created equal (unfortunately). Some of them are – like a blog about South American women – just a site that tries to get you to visit another site, usually commercial, selling the services of South American women. I mean, if you’re into those things, then fine.
- Don’t worry so much about hurting other people’s feelings when you’re writing about something that appeals to you on your blog (well, barring certain topics that will get the CIA, FBI and the NSA on your tail). In this world where everyone takes offense with everything, you’re bound to offend someone anyway, regardless of what you write about. You could write about cute cats, and someone will still get offended by it.
- Acknowledge visitors who take the time to leave a comment. Having left a comment on a post that either really appeals to your happy meter, or presses that me-no-happy button, get ready to acknowledge the original poster’s (hereby called OP) response. Sometimes you really don’t have to respond to a simple ‘thank you’ from the OP, but sometimes there are comments that spawn more comments – and that’s totally fine. In fact, it’s nice when that happens. It’s akin to a conversation in the real world, I hear…
- Sometimes things might get off-topic or OT. If so, acknowledge that what you’re about to say is OT and know that maybe the OP might edit it or not even post it. Or if you happen to be a repeat OT offender, heavens forbid, they might even BAN you.
- Get your snark meter up and running. Other blogs are heavy into snark (which is totally fine – it’s a free country) and if you don’t know what it sounds like (which sometimes I don’t), and you happily comment, you’re stepping into a minefield you may not be ready to be in. Or a shark pit. You take your pick.
- Crafting that OP-ED. When you find yourself writing an op-ed in the comment section of someone’s blog, be prepared to craft your reasonable and tactful defense should the OP or other visitors respond back. This may happen when you stumble upon a post you don’t agree on and hence, there’s your op-ed comment respectly rebutting the OP’s views. No matter what happens next, this is when tact comes in to play – and some heart meds, too, if you happen to have them. Or a bottle of whiskey to take the edge off.
- When a post or comment presses on those buttons, take a deep breath and take a long walk before you pound your busy fingers on your poor keyboard. Sometimes, it’s worth it to really think things through before responding to comments on your blog – and this especially works best when it’s a blog that’s not your own, and the OP might respond to you in a way that you didn’t like.
- Sometimes it is enough to just LIKE someone. Just because the powers that be tell you to comment on blogs to let them know that you appreciate their post, don’t – especially when you have NOTHING to say. Sometimes clicking the LIKE button is good enough (for me, it is!) But if you do have something else to say other than ‘cool blog post!’ then please comment!
So there you have it – the 10 things I’ve learned so far from blogging. Or maybe it’s about community? I don’t know anymore – the lines have become so blurred…
But most of all, have fun! Isn’t that why we do this after all?