Thursday, September 21, 2006

Journalism Blogging: A Place to Start

I was looking over my last post and some more of Guy's tips on how to work the bloggy crowd and I decided to give what he does a shot.

The Top 10 Editing Tricks to take the Diary out of your Blog

1. Think 'Not Diary.' Strange as it may seem, nobody wants to read your diary. Or my diary. Or even Leonardo DaVinci's Diary. Hm. My link appears to contradict my statement. But it's safe to say that nobody wants to read YOUR diary.

2. Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide. Or in this case, the little devil on your shoulder that says 'That's really not important, is it?' From someone much more famous than I am, "Now that you're thinking of your blog as a product, ask yourself if it's a good product. A useful test is to imagine that there's a little man sitting on your shoulder reading what you're writing. Every time you write an entry, he says, “So what? Who gives a shiitake?” If you can't answer the little man, then you don't have a good blog/product. Take it from someone who's tried: It's tough to market crap, so make sure you have something worth saying. Or, write a diary and keep it to yourself."

3. Lrn 2 Ed1t, n00b. Seriously. Spelling and grammar may not matter to your friends in IM (lol liek he knos whut IM is), but people will get sick of it if they see it on a blog, just like they would get sick of it in your local newspaper.

4. Think New York Times. Would your article make it into the New York Times? Granted, it doesn't have to (it's a blog, for chrissake. Nobody expects the Times to ever actually become a big RSS feed... or do they?) But just like WWJD, it'll help you stay on-track.

5. It Doesn't Always Have To Be Journalism. This may seem to fly in the face of my previous comments, but my point was not that you have to be a journalist all the time, but that it's a better place to start and get used to than book or diary. A Blog is much more than just journalism. If people just wanted journalism, they'd go read the newspaper. It's your blog, do what you want. However, people do read the paper every day. Not many books can claim the same honor.

6.Stick to What You Know. If you're going to write something, try to know something about it first. This one's really easy: just don't go out of your way to find anything to put on your blog.

7. Link people who know what you don't. I do Extemporaneous speaking on a college level, and here's why it's suggested that we cite a source on why our question is important: Because authority makes people pay attention. If you aren't an expert, find one and link them. Use the internet. Your readers might want more information on a topic, and make sure they can find it without their own google searches.

8. You Do Not Talk About Fight Club. This goes along with the Journalism thing, but please don't put inside jokes and annoyingly lengthy anecdotes on your blog. Keep it short and sweet. If you can edit out words, do so. In the words of Blaise Pascal, 'I am sorry for the length of my letter, but I had not the time to write a short one.' Follow this maxim. Cut your stories. What's the point?

9. Keep Up the Pace. I suggest you don't leave your readers on pins and needles as to when you're going to update next. A couple of times a week is great, people will wait if you're a busy CEO, but you should try to stay consistent. Some of the most famous webcomics have achieved their notoriety simply through persistence (got sidetracked looking for one of the ones that's updated every day for the past seven years... ah, wigu) and some... are infamous for never updating! Try to at least get somewhere in the middle?

10. Last, but not least, Go Find Information. The real trick to journalism, blogging, and life in general, is to be where the action is. If that action happens to be on the internet, Go Forth, my minions, and search the internets! If it's in your neighborhood bowling alley (and that had better be some good action there), go check out the bowling alley. Find some useful, interesting information (or make it up), and your Journalistic Blog will thrive.

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