I've made it no secret that I post to this blog for my own amusement and review, but since I've picked up return readers, I've pondered what defines a blog, and what is the best way to run one.
Some people have personal blogs, topical blogs, news blogs, aggregating (linky) blogs, and some people have a combination of all of the above. The difficult part is that others seem to expect your blog to fit a mold, and by deviating, or being inconsistent, you annoy or alienate readers. I wasn't sure how I felt about this since I had clearly defined what I expected of my blog, but still found myself second-guessing.
How much solid topical writing do you need to deliver, and how much personal chaff is too much?
After a bit of thought on the topic, and thoughts on the blogs other people run, I determined that playing it by ear is the best way. Blog about whatever comes naturally, and forget the molds.
I have blogs I visit for news, and blogs I visit for entertainment, but when I think of the bloggers who run those blogs, I realize that all those molds take the personality out of the blog. A gun news blog I read or a good aggregating blog could easily switch bloggers with little noticeable impact. Certainly news blogs supplement mainstream news, and offer a service that has benefits beyond teevee and radio delivery media, but I think blogging was not originally intended to provide this function.
Web logs (gasp! Blog's full name!) were meant to be personal online journals. At first this seems like an oxymoron, but to me the intention was part of the increasing effort to personalize the internet. The idea was not to provide a warehouse of information for the masses to peruse at the leisure; it was to connect the masses with each other to counteract the social disconnect the internet was beginning to cause. It saw the rise of social networking sites, and a general change in the way we view the internet.
Reading a personal blog that touches on a variety of topics gives you a view into the mind of another random faceless person somewhere in the world. The more you read from their mind, the more connected you become to a person who you've never physically met. The internet becomes a more personal space, where relationships were developed.
You may scoff at my use of the word "relationships," but in the few years I've been actively blogging, I've made two (count 'em!) friendships that have crossed into the real world. One friend is very local, and we hang out regularly, and have become close friends. The other friend is not as local, but we've become very good friends despite the distance, with the help of the internet. Not to mention the business contacts, and contract work I've picked up because of this blog.
"We met on the internet" is becoming less and less of a joke.
So when you're staring at that blank blog post with an idea in your head, wondering whether or not you should post it; just play it by ear. Post it, and see how you feel about it. I guarantee you, there is someone out there who is having a similar experience, and wants to know he or she is not alone.
We are on the the bleeding edge of a cultural revolution that is trying so hard to grow into a digital renaissance.
Things would be very different if everyone realized that all the nameless, faceless people they pass by every day had the same hopes, fears, ambitions, insecurities, loves, hates, and life that they had.
When people start seeing themselves in other people; how could they do wrong?
By my calculations; if every blogger posts two personal facts about themselves for the world to see, we'll all evolve in to balls of energy within 10 years! So get cracking! :)