The Best Laid Blogs of Mice and Men
Blogging has become ubiquitous in popular culture with the vast majority of people accessing blogs and a great deal of users running their own. A blog, a shortened form of term “weblog”, can take on a variety of forms, from a professional website showcasing knowledge and abilities, to a diary that contains stream of conscious writing regarding the blogger’s daily life and thoughts about the world.
Although blogs are as diverse as the people who use them, there are some common threads which run across most blogs. The majority of blogs are public and accessible to anyone who has an internet connection. Blogs also generally post in reverse-chronological order, showing newest blogs at the top, with a sidebar of links, and meta information to the right or left. Many blogs are written by a single author. However, plenty of blogs defy these criteria and still remain blogs.
Blogs are made to be simple to set up and used by those are necessarily computer experts, so everyone can join the blogging network. Networking through your blog is encouraged through a variety of ways, such as links and pingbacks, being able to follow a blog and receive notification when the blog updates, and comment sections are very common where readers can engage in conversations with the blogger and other readers.
To The Blogosphere and Beyond!
Anyone can post a blog, but not everyone will have a post go viral. Going viral is not a science. There are common factors with viral posts and some indications of what will give a post a boost and what will not. Here are some tips for getting a post to go viral:
- Start with an emotional topic. Anything that makes individuals feel strong emotions is a good starting point. Although some emotions, anger, disgust, are more motivating than an emotion like sadness, something which tugs on heartstrings or ruffles up feathers is bound to catch attention.
- Write a catchy headline, which is neither too vague nor too specific. In an age where everyone is vying for the attention of readers and information for just about everything is at our fingertips, how are you going to make your post stand out from the crowd? A strong headline can do this.
- Create quality content. Ever read a headline and click on the link, excited to read the article, only to find that the article was boring, dry, and not nearly as interesting as the headline led you to believe? In order for something to go viral, generate clicks, likes, and shares, it has to be well written and easy to understand.
- Include cats. Everyone loves cats. Proven fact. They can help you go viral.
Networking Among Networks With Networks on the Side
Once you have a blog up and running, you need to let people know about it. This can be as easy as posting a link on your Facebook page to your new content.
Using social media networks which aren’t blogging networks to promote work is so common that many blogs feature a publicize option which will automatically post your content to your social media profiles and allow your friends and followers to see your new post without you needing to do anything at all.
Websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter can help your post reach a wider audience and keep members of all of your social networks current on your latest blog posts. In order to be successful doing this, you have to be active on each site you’re a part of and provide engaging content for your readers.
What you choose to post to your profiles should depend on what you are posting. If you are writing a blog which is stream of consciousness about everything from your dog to your problems with your boyfriend, you probably wouldn’t want employers and colleagues on LinkedIn or Academia.edu easily accessing this information. It’s important to remember everything you put on the internet can be accessed by anyone. While job hunting, it’s probably a good idea to leave off your blog about your drinking habits and loathe of getting out of bed and doing simple tasks.
For safety reasons, it’s a good idea to leave out specifics such as your address, telephone number, and details about when you’re going to be on vacation or information about your children. Because anyone can access your information, it’s important to use discretion when posting. That said, sometimes things do disappear from the Internet. Having a backup of your information can be indispensable to you as a blogger.
Internet Addiction and Blogging
From someone who ran a daily blog for over three years, yes, the Internet can be addictive. Although other forms of social media generally take the fall for Internet addiction, there can be people who become addicted to their blogs as well. Generating new content, receiving feedback on that content, finding new readers, entertaining followers, and finding new ways to increase your views will developing your creative voice can become a task, a job, a chore, and an addiction.
Site such as Tumblr and Twitter, which feature small, easily written content can become quite addictive as the blogging moves so quickly, there’s always something new to check, reblog, think about, write about, and share. If blogging starts impacting your social life, work, or romantic life, you might have internet addiction.
Create a drawing of your favorite blogs within a blogging network (WordPress, Blogger, etc). Draw a picture to represent a blog and label it with the blog title and URL. Look for connections between the blogs. Are they similar content? Do the bloggers know each other or collaborate on articles? Do the blogs have familiar formats? How do these blogs speak to your individual needs and interests? Write down your answers at the bottom of your drawing.