Sunday, August 22, 2010

7 Quickfire Uni Blogging Tips

As I'm sure you're all aware (since I know you all read everything I link in the Monday Corner religiously!!!!!!!!) Anomalous Material is doing their 31 Days to a Better Blog thing-a-magigger. Well, inspired by that I've decided to throw in my advice for those who want to get an all around better blogging experience. I know, you may ask yourself what right do I have to advise, but I think I've done pretty well for having only done actual blogging for 1 year + the 7 years I've done on RT (at one point being a featured blogger for them). So, here we go:

1. Comment: It's not enough to expect comments, you've got to give them. And "yeah, I agree," "good point," and "cool" aren't going to cut it. Odds are if you write those I won't even remember you commented on my blog. Let alone does it drive me to want to check out anything else you've written. I just spent 6 paragraphs telling you why you should be mad at your theater, and all you can think of is "yeah?" Put some thought into it. Tell me why I'm wrong. Tell me what else there is too it. Show some personal experience. These draw readers. Though to be fair if you write an essay in response, you're better off having just done your own post about the issue.

2. Be Yourself: Now I know every one of you is thinking this is an easy one, but you might be surprised. I can't even begin to mention the number of blogs I read where people are basically just popularity mongering. A blog post telling me how horrible a movie is, but giving it a 8/10 since far too many people only look at the score anyways. If you hate a movie, give it a 3 (or whatever on your scale). Don't be afraid to dislike something, even if it is called a "classic." And of course vice versa aptly applies. Popular opinion should never define your personal opinion, in so far as you allow it.

3. Be Respectful: I've never believed respect is something that is earned, but rather that it is something that should simply be given. If someone is taking the time to write a post, no matter how much you disagree with it, don't insult them. All you're really doing is writing "I'm an insecure asshole who believes belittling you will increase my superiority in a meaningless realm." No, simply writing "I see what you mean, but what about looking at it from this perspective" is far more personable, and infinitely better. You're no longer an asshole, but a thoughtful individual, kindly recommending a new way of looking at things.

4. Be Passionate: I know 2010 has sucked big time for movies, but that has done nothing to sway my passion for them. If anything it's given me the opportunity to check out some classics I've always wanted to see (Ordinary People, Metropolis, etc.), and kick start a few projects I've been debating for some time (Film Enigma). All of which have increased my passion for blogging, and films in general. Keep doing things you want to do. Nobody wants to read a lot of "yeah, it was great, but I don't really care" posts. They're boring.

5. Pace Yourself: I post once a day as long as my schedule allows. There are those that post a couple times a week, bi-weekly, monthly, etc. And while I think there's something to be said for posting often, and keeping your name out there, work within your schedule. What happens to far too many is that they come here, expect to get 500 followers right away, post a hundred times a day, and are burned out, frustrated, and quit in a month. Instead if they posted sporadically, and worked within the system, they'd find they had a much better experience.

6. Network: Much like commenting, reaching out to various blogging communities (like The LAMB) allow you to find new, and similar, blogs to constantly be exploring. Events to take part in (and yes, you should occasionally take part in them), and opportunities for more exposure. But treating them solely as a medium for exposure will get you nowhere. People have a good eye for when they're being used, and faking to care won't get you anywhere. You need to be willing to put yourself out there a bit. Share some embarrassing stories from your past. Go all out. And if you make a mistake, be willing to apologize. Despite what much of the internet may teach you, it's ok to be wrong. And not-so shockingly people tend to be forgiving as long as you're willing to accept it. It's a big beautiful blogging world, so be sure to take advantage.

7. Have Fun: Oh, yeah yeah yeah, it sounds so easy! Of course it is! You think I write about leprechauns, panda bear armies, and general stupidity because I think others will love it? Hell no. I'm pretty sure most my readers stare blankly at each writeup about them, questioning my sanity. But I have fun with it. I throw in my (inner voice) to make things more exciting. I review the movies I want to review, and complain about the things I want to complain about. None of it, including this post, is done as a chore to me. The Monday Corner is fun to write, and look up links for. My Obligatories are awesome to do because I get to say all the stupid things I enjoy without anyone caring. Kurosawa I could talk about for ages. So go all out. Come up with series you love to write about. Keep yourself, like I've said, passionate. Don't do things for no reason, just to appeal to people. It's a hobby, not a job. You're meant to enjoy yourself.

Well, I know those are very basic, but I hope they help you new bloggers, and maybe old bloggers, with how to approach blogging. Have a good one everyone!

14 better thoughts:

Jess said...

Univarn, you're totally right about the commenting. I go through spurts of remembering to click through to comment (since I do most of the reading in Google Reader), but it does increase the traffic and comments on my blog every time. Thanks for a great post. I've been doing Anomalous Material's challenge, and it definitely has helped and you condensed many of the lessons into neat paragraphs.

Alex said...

Yeah, I agree!

Brian Dunn said...

Are you going to post your thoughts on the best movie I've ever seen Ordinary People? If your answer is no, can you do the opposite of your answer?

Note that my pic is from Ordinary People... which is the #1 greatest movie I've seen in case I didn't make that clear.

Liam [Less Than Three Film] said...

Good points! I try to review every film I see, and sometimes if I watch a particularly bland film it can be a right pain to try and get enthusiastic about it - negatively or positively. But alas, I prevail (usually).

The commenting can be quite difficult too - if it's a film I haven't seen before I tend to avoid the review (don't like spoilers - plus, a comment of "haven't seen it" is useless). But otherwise, the other problem I have with commenting is remembering to go back and check for replies!

Castor said...


Univarn said...

@Jess I meant to do AM's challenge, but I went away for half the month right from the start, and I'd feel bad for cutting in on it so late. Thanks for the comment!

@Alex and Castor = fail.

@Brian It depends. If I don't see any new movies I might do it this upcoming Saturday. We'll see.

@Liam I usually do the "subscribe via email" for posts where I write a comment I want to know if people reply to (a thought/opinion/etc.). I just setup an email for my comments (on this blog and others) to go so I don't have to clog my general email box with it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yeah! Just kidding. Funny we'd both blog about blogging this weekend. I know commenting and responding to comments encourages more of the same. After all, blogging is a social network.

Kaiderman said...

CRAP! Alex and Castor beat me to it! haha
All good points, Mr. Varn. I think the posting thing can be applied to commenting. If you read my site regularly, I'd prefer you leave a decent comment when you can than just showing up and giving one worthless sentence on every post.
I know I can't comment as often as I'd like cuz of work so I wait till I have time to read my blogroll and offer something when I feel I have something to add. This comment excluded! :)

Castor said...

Ahaha, Good post though Univarn. It's almost like hearing myself preaching to the choir ;)

The Mad Hatter said...

There's only one other tip I can think of that should go with these as the essential tips: blog what you love.

For me, chattering about movies comes easily because I enjoy watching 'em and talking about 'em...I'd chatter about them anyway whether I had a blog or not.

It also offers a chance to meet more like-minded people out there. If your passion in like is literature, or cheese, or fly fishing...there are probably a lot of other people with the same passions out there.

Univarn said...

@AlexJ I've been meaning to write something like this for ages, I just never have. Didn't have anything else to write about so went ahead with it. Though I did notice your suggestions as I was writing them, tried to avoid mimicry :)

@Kaiderman I don't comment as much these days as I used to, but I've just been busy. I know I've been especially lack, if not all together non existent, in the commenting realm of KaiSpace :P. I am reading though, so be sure of that!

@Castor You preaching to the choir eh? I always thought you seemed a little funny around young boys. Oh crap! I've said too much :\

@Mad I tried to include what you love with what you're passionate about, though I know the two are demonstrably different. Doing so is most definitely the only way you'll ever last in the blogging world.

Fletch said...

My Cheese blog will be starting shortly. It's going to be sweet!

All very good, common-sense points. I never cease to be amazed at the people who think they have earned something merely by having a URL, where their main export is schilling themselves rather than actually attempting to become a part of a (any) community. You've got to do this for the entire experience or you'll miss out on all of it.

Oh, and "good point." :D

Heather said...

I've tried to explain to others the absolute importance of reaching out into the community, but I think some realize it's more work than they expected. For our enormous blogroll I try and make consistent rounds to my favorite blogs or people that I'm familiar with, and while I read a lot if I have nothing interesting to say, I don't comment.

I think the most important part is to have fun with it. It may take work and time but it hardly feels like that when you are enjoying yourself.

Drake Sigar said...

I concur, especially on the commenting side. People seem to harbor these entitlement issues, always wanting something for nothing.

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