{23} Rules of Blogging III – Networking

I’m going to need to do a bit of technical manoeuvring to get these dates in order. I hate missing posts.

When is xkcd not appropriate?

The long-term benefits of networking have been proven by sociologists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis other than my own meandering experience.

There’s no way a blog or blogger can exist in a void. No man is an island, and even without thinking about it or meaning to, everything we say and do impacts someone else. That’s even more true for bloggers, whose sole purpose is to put things out there to reach people. That means reaching readers (hard enough) and reaching other bloggers.

I think the trick to it is not considering the other bloggers as competition. Y’know, it’s not like BK and Mickey D’s in the Blogosphere. Unlike large chain fast food restaurants, we small fries kind of need each other to survive. And wasn’t the whole reason for blogging to make friends anyway?

Maybe not.

The point remains that most of us are small fish in a huge pond, and working together is really only in our best interests. Know a blogger? Help them out. Remind them to post, often. Talk to them about their ideas. It’ll make both of you feel better.


Rules of Blogging II: Do Your Homework

A few weeks ago I posted some advice on how to write a blog based on my own experiences. I’m toying with the idea of doing a series. Since there are already so many blogging how-to’s already available on the internet, I figure one more voice can only help the cacophony.

As it turns out, doing research before writing a blog post isn’t nearly as critical as I’d thought. How did I figure that out? Through research. Irony is one of life’s simpler pleasures. Having a blog that is thoughtful and well-written depends on a lot more than just getting the facts straight; it almost seems to be tacitly understood that research is key. So tacit, in fact, that not one of the three sites I visited last night stressed knowing what you’re talking about.

At the same time, though, I know I picked up tons of useful tips just from doing a simple Google search. It’s a small thing, but a well-researched blog – far from making you sound pedantic and stuffy – will actually make your posts sound more informed and therefore more reliable. Maybe even fun.

Instead of:

Cats used to be gods in ancient times.

You could get:

Cats used to be worshipped in Ancient Egypt and the cat-goddess, Bast, was a sort of precursor to the modern day sex kitten.

But make sure you don’t cross the line from interesting tidbit to tl;dr land, or you’ll remind your reader of that teacher from Ferris Bueller. It’s all about balance. And it comes with practice. Don’t just stick to background research on your topic either; be ready to do a quick check to see if you’re using ‘obsequious’ in the right context, or if Emancipation is celebrated on the same day everywhere (incidentally, this year it will be). A little homework makes a huge difference.

My advice? Go for the Google. At worst, you’ll come across as someone willing to learn; at best, your readers will be impressed enough to keep coming back for more.


For the fun of it: