I wrote a post responding to Strawberry Singh’s Blogging Journey Challenge days ago, but my answers to her questions were so fist-eatingly dull I couldn’t bear to bore you rigid with them.
Ever catch yourself writing guff? It sometimes happens when you write for an audience, instead of listening to your own voice and expressing it without self-censorship. Perhaps you never do this, but if that’s true you probably lie about other things too. I hate my stuff when I do that. So, I binned the lot and wrote this instead:
Which electronic devices do you use to blog with? I use my MacBook Pro, but to be perfectly honest, I’d rather “write” my blog posts telepathically. I’d like to hook myself up to wearable MRI scanners and EEG electrodes, and have them simply record my brain activity, translating my real-time thoughts into eloquent prose – sans self-criticism.
If I had my druthers, I’d link up directly with WordPress.com and BAM!: out would sprout a freshly pressed blog post. But wait, there’s more: you’d see the real magic when you hook up an Oculus Rift (a la Philip Rosedale’s Glass Brain), and get an up close and live peek at my brain activity cast over my YouTube channel.
Do you have a mission statement for your blog, if so, what is it? My blog is a creative expression of my Second Life. In Second Life I do many things to express myself: I create theatre, socialize, build, put together outfits, sell stuff, host events, DJ, sing, take photos, and I write. For me, blogging is an expression of being in Second Life, it doesn’t have a purpose in itself.
I recently wrote a new description for my blog: “Imagining the Impossible” – and through Second Life, I really am doing just that. I spawned that tagline from nowhere, and I was pretty pleased with myself when I did. Then, I Googled the phrase and it turns out to be a title of a book about magical, scientific, and religious thinking in children. How apt: Let’s play.
How do you feel about blogs that use their platforms to spread negativity? I have a fair bit to write about this subject. I’m not afraid of negativity; it’s unsubstantiated negativity that I abhor, in others, probably because I detest it most of all in myself. Both unsubstantiated negativity or positivity are opiates for the brain. I admire, respect and strive for passionate objectivity. I agree with Moynihan when he wrote “Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but not to their own facts.”
There is plenty of room for sharing your personal feelings or reactions to experiences, people and things, and I enjoy reading and writing about those things too. Your feelings are your own and you should feel free to write about them to your heart’s content, without fear of being judged or challenged.
However, if you go beyond opinion, and blog or comment about stuff that is external to you, if you write about stuff that is happening in the world, or about the stuff people make, or about places you visit; I’m not interested in your puff. I want to hear your opinion – your real opinion, warts and all. That’s why I’m reading your blog, instead of an advertisement or a directory listing. I want to know what you think about the issue, the product, or the place. Then, I’ll be looking for you to defend your opinion with fact, or at least your best guess reasoning – stated as such. And yes, I’m interested in knowing what you thought about the things you didn’t like too.
I find genuine and substantiated opinion is rare in the Second Life blogosphere, unless of course bloggers and commenters are maligning Linden Lab (that bloggers who rarely say a disparaging word about anyone or anything seem to consider a fair and faceless target). I find that bloggers rate so many mediocre things as “amazing” that their commentary becomes meaningless. You might say, if you don’t like those blogs, go elsewhere, and that would be good advice that I would heed. A couple of weeks ago I stopped following half of the blogs I had followed, because reading them is so brain-numbingly dull. They were clutter in my inbox, obscuring meaningful content, and getting in the way of enjoying and interacting with higher quality blogs. Perhaps you feel the same about my blog, in which case I wouldn’t blame you in the least for dropping it from your list!
Bloggers often defend their ‘good-news-only’ stance by saying “If I don’t like it, I won’t blog about it”, and that’s fair. Everyone can blog about what they like, and ignore what they don’t like. It’s your blog, right? You could set grey typeface on a grey background if you wanted to, because it’s your prerogative.
I would love, however, to read more about your ideas, your views – and it’s the bloggers that are unafraid to share their genuine and justifiable opinions that tend to write the blogs I read. My time is limited. As your reader, I’d derive immeasurable benefit if you’d write honestly about how you see things – the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’m an adult – I can make up my own mind as to whether you’re biased or have an opinion worth listening to.
Are you a grammar junkie? Do you thoroughly check your blog for errors before posting and/or do you judge other people’s posts if they contain errors. Yes, yes, and to be brutally honest, yes. Still, my standards for myself far exceed my standards for others, and I don’t spend my time policing other people’s English. I personally feel that I owe it to my reader to present my thoughts free of spelling and grammar mistakes to the best of my ability. Am I perfect? No, but I aim to use language to communicate my intent as clearly as I can.
If you could switch blogs with another blogger who would it be? For me, trading blogs with someone else would negate the reason my blog exists.
Has your blog/blogging style evolved over the years? How so? My blog began as a personal journal, but I became tired of my own twaddle. I can scarcely imagine how much I bored your pants off in my early posts. I’m much happier with what I’m posting now.
What is the most extraordinary thing that has happened to you because of blogging? I’ve compelled myself to do things worth blogging about.
When it comes to Second Life blogs, there are different styles: Fashion bloggers, Lifestyle & Travel bloggers, Informative bloggers, and more. Which style do you prefer and where do you feel your blog fits in? I’ve found it very difficult to categorise my blog, and I doubt anyone else could either.
I like to take pictures – little slices of my Second Life – sometimes posed, sometimes candid. While I enjoy dressing up for pictures, I don’t write posts about new things (or credit them, unless those things are relevant to the topic of the post). I like to sometimes write about the places I visit, in which case I’ll always link to the place, because that is relevant to the post topic. I write a lot about my own doings, especially my theatre productions, or events I might host or in which I take part, or the region I help manage, if I consider these things worth blogging about.
What has blogging taught you? A significant share of my work involves writing commercially, but through my Second Life blog, I’ve learned that writing freely about my own passions is something that I love to do. Mostly, I’ve learned I am doing this for me. As selfish as that sounds, I’ve learned that external feedback is an undiscerning fickle harlot.
I might spend hours on a post that will receive a mere dozen views. I might ask for comment and get nothing but the sound of my own echo. I might write a post that I think will be well received – and only receive one or two “likes” from my loyal friends. On the other hand, I might take a few quick pictures, scrawl a few lines, link to a more popular blogger, or write about a particularly timely or popular topic, and my post will get a cascade of positive feedback.
I see the discrepancy between feedback (likes, comments, and shares) and quality of thinking, writing and photography in many other posts on many other blogs. Some posts I read are worthy of considerably more appreciation than they receive, while other posts receive considerably more attention than they deserve.
Numbers are meaningless.
Share your top 3 tips for new bloggers.
- Ignore tips, including mine. Nobody knows what’s best for you or your blog.
- Use your blog as a platform for courageousness, even when you stand alone.
- Don’t worry about being topical, or writing about the latest thing that everyone is writing about. The longer I stay on the fringes, the more I realise there is no mainstream, or at least, it’s nowhere near as important as I once imagined it to be. Be your own spring, and those that matter will drink from your well.