A blog is what you make of it

I’m delighted by the reader’s comments on my last post:
Response to You are Not A Blog.

I am cheerfully certain that I can be a blog if I want to be, and so can you.

A blog is what you make of it and nobody, nobody has the right to tell me, or you, or your grandmother that a blog must conform to some set of rules in order to be a "proper" weblog.

There are NO restrictions on how we must address the keyboard, use proper nouns and grammar, and speak politely to each other like good little citizens. Our blogs can be sincere efforts to help and enlighten others or intimate views into the triumphs and travails of daily life.

I think of blogging as citizen publishing in the strongest sense of the word. If it fits, it gets printed. I may not even be able to spell right, but I can put my thoughts out where anyone can read them and respond.

If my thoughts are profound and the concepts are based on truth, some possible good might come of my writing. That is my reason for blogging, but each blogger has his/her own reason why they blog.

The rules of blogging etiquite are merely guidelines which facilitate communication with the rest of the inhabitants of the blogosphere. They are conventions which make it easier to communicate and be understood. Like any convention, you violate them at the risk of social isolation.


The same is true of your subject matter. Whether it is inspiring and thought provoking or lewd, crude and subversive, your internet outpourings are only visible to those who look for them. A blog may provide an appalling view into the workings of a psychotic mind, but it is not email that thrusts itself unbidden into your inbox. One has to Google to find these running sores in the backwaters of the Internet.

When terrorists blog, their eager audience includes members of the Intelligence community as well as the witless gawkers who gather like flies on garbage.

Stifling speech, when it does not intrude on our own communications, is unwise. On the other hand, freedom of speech does not include the right to defame others. Defamation, sometimes called "defamation of character", is spoken or written words that falsely and negatively reflect on a living person’s reputation. It is what we see every day in supposedly reputable publications like the New York Times.

Since the MSM (mainstream media) is already doing this, bloggers need to find more productive ways to spend their hours online.

I suggest that bloggers write about matters that mean something to them and should write in a manner that evokes an emotional response from their readers. But, as I said at the beginning, I have no right to tell a blogger what to write.

If a blog is as dull as mud and has readers who enjoy it, this blogger has found his audience. That is all that matters.

Tranquil meanderings, frenzied polemics, or incisive political analyses, all of these are fair subjects for blogging. There are a million more topics to blog and there are countless new bloggers waiting in the wings.

I was engaged in a conversation with a ten-year-old who is already on the internet and has built several websites. When I told him I was a blogger, his first question to me was, "Will I be able to set up a website on LiveJournal?" He lives with his grandmother, who can barely use email. 🙂

This oncoming generation of bloggers will do thing with blogging software that we can barely imagine. I for one, can hardly wait.


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0 Responses to A blog is what you make of it

  1. Lloyd says:

    “Citizen Publishing”, that’s the perfect definition for a blog. Hope your book is doing well!

  2. andy says:

    “A blog is what you make of it and nobody, nobody has the right to tell me, or you, or your grandmother that a blog must conform to some set of rules in order to be a “proper” weblog.”


  3. BLOG LAW #1: Write what you know, and what you believe can help, amuse, entertain, or provoke others.

    BLOG LAW #2: Write as perfectly as you are able. Clean up typos, misspellings, etc. Chop up dense paragraphs into short, easily scannable chunks. Use bulleted or numbered lists, bold face, and other devices to guide the eye. Readers are in a hurry.

    BLOG LAW #3: Anarchy rules only in dream worlds, and even there, only intermittently. Obey all the laws of blogging that you can discover, to craft a successful, or popular, or self-fulfilling blog.

    BLOG LAW #4: Excessive inclusion of mundane personal details generally, unless written in a very funny or innovative manner, tend to bore other people. How many autobiographies of average people are in your book shelf? Unbridled, giddy, inessential self-expression has never worked in any medium, except in telephone or chat room conversations with teenagers.

    BLOG LAW #5: Beware of the very real dangers of personal details, photos of children, comments about employers and co-workers, intimate info about your spouse and family, explicit descriptions of local hang-outs included in blogs. There are child predators, stalkers, identity theft criminals, irate employers, etc. who may prey on and victimize you.

    BLOG LAW #6: Blog safely and wisely, especially if it is a personal blog. Blog professionally and intelligently, if it is a business blog. Blogrolls, posts, profiles, all contribute to the impression you make. All media have “laws” or general guidelines for effective and satisfying results. No one goes into a music recording studio, radio station, ham radio operation, television studio, print shop, or whatever, and starts “doing my own thing”, heedless of the mechanics and principles that govern quality. QUALITY and RESULTS are what are important, correct?

    You could say “a life is what you make of it” but there are plenty of authorities to enforce certain behaviors and to diminish or prohibit other behaviors.

    No one says: You Must Blog Like This.

    Just: Consider These Guidelines for a Good Blog.


    Vaspers the Grate

  4. Grate point, Vaspers!

    Your Guidelines for a Good Blog are pertinent and spot-on, even if the word laws has widely varying definitions.

    1. A rule of conduct or procedure established by custom, agreement, or authority.

    2. Something, such as an order or a dictum, having absolute or unquestioned authority.

    Definition #1 certainly applies here.
    Thanks for dropping by.

  5. I am honored by your opening comments about my blog being consistently thought-provoking.

    I welcome harsh, but intelligent, critique. A wise person always allows, in the back of their mind, that “everything I think I know may be wrong.”

    Whenever I have a theory, I seek opposing views. If my theories hold up, at least in my own mind, I figure I may be onto something.

    I used “LAW” just to be provocative and comical and even a bit self-parodying.

    I love those who can mock themselves and admit to deficiencies and possible error.

    You are proving yourself to be a noble debater.

    And I envy your distinguished aristocratic name!
    TITLE: Danger Quicksand – Have A Nice Day
    URL: http://weblogs.asp.net/wallen/archive/2005/03/23/395710.aspx
    BLOG NAME: Wayne Allen’s Weblog
    DATE: 03/23/2005 04:58:39 PM

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