– Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Act 1
First and foremost – thanks for stopping by for what’s either a repeat or introductory dose of my redheaded ruminations. If you’re a regular here, my style and means for delivering messages shouldn’t shock you. If you’re new – well, then I might not be for you. Regardless of your ultimate affinity for me, I never forget that I have a responsibility to my audience. As Oscar Wilde so eloquently stated above, truth is rarely pure or simple. As a writer across a broad range of mediums, I find that there’s quite the amount of joy in the “grey area” that lies between pure and simple and that it sparks some of the most lively discussions I’ve witnessed or joined.
As the truth is rarely absolute, I thought this week would be an excellent time to discuss the importance of blogging earnest.
Well aware that there are as many opinions as the world has assholes (and more, given that in-laws generally have multiple opinions to share), I acknowledge that my public presence in the blogosphere and interwebz leaves me an open and easy target for those opinions that differ from mine. Cool – completely cool. There are some rules that I follow, however, when crafting these weekly opinions of mine for all to judge. If you’re a fellow blogger, journalist, writer or just someone who stops by for my snarky two cents on social media and the like, perhaps you’ll find something here of value to take into your own online or printed prose.
The Redhead’s Rules for Blogging Earnest
Form an opinion – a clear one.
Each post should have a clearly defined title and purpose so your readers know what to expect. It’s OK to have opinions and it’s the diversity of thought that makes the blogosphere such a freakin’ cool place. Stop apologizing and start writing. Yet, there are a few more steps…
Make your case.
Of the utmost importance. Don’t be an asshole and feed your audience pedestrian pablum like “some people say” or “I read this thing” or “I’m not going to mention any names.” That’s total crap and you know it. Respect the fact that your audience is intelligent and capable of forming their own opinions. Present your case, substantiate your argument and acknowledge you’re going to have those who take issue with your stance. That’s outrageous news for you – if you incite your audience to applaud or throw stones, you’ve moved them and done your job. Indifference — now THAT’S deadly. Here’s a perfect time to mention…
Cite your sources.
There’s not a single post I’ve written that’s originated because the Angel Gabriel flew down, landed on my shoulder and handed me a magic banana milkshake that spawned an original thought. All thoughts originate from somewhere…something…some other blogger’s post…an article you read…a conversation with a friend. Whether you’re giving props or taking issue, cite your sources so your audience, if so compelled, can see the basis for your argument. There are few instances in the blogosphere where citing sources as “anonymous” is anything other than (in my redheaded opinion) complete bullshit. See point (1) above about forming an opinion. If you’re not capable of stating an opinion that’s substantiated by anything beyond “I’m not going to mention any names,” maybe it’s time to move on to a different blog topic.
Join the conversation.
When the comments start rolling in on your post, address them. Whether they laud you as the second coming of Christ or damn you as the antithesis, you’re indebted to your readers for their feedback. A blogger without a comment-generating following is pretty much just talking to him or herself. Don’t delete comments that state a differing opinion. It is, however, perfectly acceptable to have a Comments Policy – PR Squared has an excellent one. Just go to leave a comment and you’ll view its sane yet explicit glory.
Stick to your guns or eat the crow.
Your post was important enough a subject to you that you wrote a blog while you could have been doing something else. As a writer in any medium, your posts/musings should be viewed as your lover: you may not end up liking everything it is that they do, but you’ll support them. And on occasion, you’re going to have to admit that you’re wrong.
Don’t delete a post out of controversy – admit that you fucked-up. Eat the crow. You accepted the consequences once you chose to post your blog in the first place. Don’t squelch your lover and walk away. Lovers talk – to girlfriends, boyfriends, Facebook friends, Tweeps, Diggers, Stumblers and more. Better they talk about how you were able to not only hold your own in a heated discussion, but also admit error or a change of heart in light of new facts.
That’s it. That’s all I’ve got for this week. I’ll end by saying that the above is the process *I* go through when writing a blog.
Say it. Support it. Send it out. Watch it burn.
Would love to hear what my readers have to say about this – are there practices you use that you consider to be “blogging in earnest?” As bloggers, our readers come back because they enjoy our style, approach and the fact that we’re not out to hoodwink them with our words. We owe them solid arguments, not just kumbayah fluff posts filled with heresay. I believe in blogging earnest because I own my words, my feelings and my style. If you don’t like it, don’t read my blog. But don’t throw fruit at me on the web and think I won’t catch its splatter.
One of the most comlimentary things about having readers who like what you write is that they get your back. They’ll let you know who’s saying what about you quite often – good and bad. Nothing sucks more than a blind attack, false quote, inaccurate facts, or…missing out on the voice of your audience because you’re just not listening.
A HUGE thank you to my readers – and thanks for consistently letting me know what you think. And if I ever forget the importance of blogging earnest – call me out on my bullshit.