I’m always trying to rethink what a blog is, and in particular what this blog is, and we’re now probably past the five year mark, so maybe it’s time to take stock. Here are five conclusions I’ve reached about how to Blog Thoughtfully:
- It’s no longer about feeding the beast. I’ve tried to post once a day, but I think the abundance of blogs nowadays makes a nonsense of that. People nowadays have so much to read they don’t want space filled up for the sake of it. (That’s what a newspaper is for.) Don’t be afraid to not post. No one unsubscribes from a feed because it’s silent for a few days; they unsubscribe because it’s too noisy.
- Comments are great, but so is silence. Loose Wire has never been about lots of comments (or, come to think of it, lots of readers) and sometimes I wonder whether I’d prefer lots of comments. Some blogs, the discussions in comments are better than the original post. But that’s not the only way to go. Some people aren’t just the commenting type, and that’s cool. The only readers aren’t the ones that comment; commenters aren’t the only people to write for.
- Forget link-love, link-bait and all that balarney. It’s great to be high on the rankings, and pointing to other people’s sites helps that, but ultimately it’s a disservice to the reader if those links aren’t incidental to the subject matter of the post. Respect the reader’s time and don’t post something if it’s just a back-scratching exercise.
- Blogs are people, but they shouldn’t be egos. I think blogs differ from publications in that they ooze the soul of the person(s) writing it and keeping it going, but that doesn’t mean letting the ego run free. So many posts I read nowadays on otherwise thoughtful blogs are all about what awards/coverage/junket the writer just experienced. Give me your brain, not your ego. Save that for your Twitter stream.
- Brevity is the friend of clarity. It doesn’t mean all posts should be short, but no writing has ever suffered from being edited down. If there’s a simpler and quicker way of saying what you want to say, say it. Which is probably a good place for me to stop.
And thanks, everyone, for reading anything I’ve written over the past five years. I have to say I really enjoyed it and don’t intend to stop. (And thanks to Dow Jones for not standing in my way when I asked permission back in 2002, or since.)