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!
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