This is my entry for the WLTC Blogging Essay Competition. Please help me out and rate my entry.
When writing for a blog, there are what seems an endless amount of topics to choose from. Bloggers write about design, cars, blogging, technology, gadgets, and more. However, there comes a time when bloggers are running on empty and can’t decide what to write about. During those lull-in-blogging moments, certain bloggers may be tempted to write about topics as useless as making a grilled-cheese sandwich.
Throughout my limited exposure in the blogging world, I have come across topics that seem as taboo as yelling “bomb” in a movie theater. Within this essay, I will discuss the topics that bloggers should avoid writing about at all costs. These topics consist of cats, lack of blogging, commenting, future in-laws, and a day-to-day micro-view of life.
Nobody Cares About My Stupid Cat
If you’ve been reading blogs for a while, one of the topics that repeatedly gets on people’s nerves is that of cats. In fact, it’s a running joke among some bloggers.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some good uses of cat topics. For example, why not talk about how when the cat decided to lick the 9-volt battery you left around? Alternatively, why not discuss how to make that favorite Chinese cuisine? For the PETA folks, I’m not suggesting that someone write about being cruel to a cat. I’m only suggesting that those topics would be the only way to make a cat post entertaining.
Just for the record, I own a black cat. She’s so cute. Every morning when I wake up, she’s right there lying next to me and it’s so — err, nevermind.
I’m Too Busy To Blog. So What?
Imagine calling someone and going straight to voicemail. Now imagine this voicemail saying, “I’m sorry I can’t come to the phone. In fact, I’m too busy right now to even call anybody. If you leave a voicemail, I might get back to you if I’m not busy enough. I’ll try to keep this to a minimum. Thanks! Bye.”
By the time you’ve reached the end of the voicemail, you’re probably thinking, “Why not just say, ‘Leave a message’?”
There’s no real point to those “I can’t blog ’cause I’m too busy” posts other than giving a cop-out for not keeping up with your blog. People come to your blog to read your content, not your excuses for not producing your content. There are millions of other blogs out there. If yours goes straight to voicemail, the reader will just call someone else.
If you’re too busy to blog, do something about it. ProBlogger has some great advise on what to do if you foresee yourself being too busy.
Nobody Is Commenting! Poor Me.
Imagine calling that same person’s phone and hearing, “Thank you for calling. Don’t hang up! Please leave a voicemail. Please? If you don’t leave a voicemail, I’ll never know why you called. C’mon, please leave that voicemail.”
Does the above voicemail scream of desperation? I certainly think so.
Blogging about people not commenting — or begging people to comment — is nothing short of saying to your readers that you need attention.
I understand the need for comments. Comments reinforce the writing and add to the content. Comments motivate the blogger to post more. However, complaining about having no comments is not going to persuade people to comment. If a reader wants to comment on a post, then that reader will leave a comment. Forcing or persuading someone to comment will rarely help the situation.
Once again, ProBlogger offers some great tips on how to get readers to comment more. Suspiciously absent from the tips is the one about complaining about lack of comments. Maybe the guys at ProBlogger know something I don’t know?
I Hate My Future In-Laws
There are some things people forget when writing blog posts: people might actually read them. Airing your dirty laundry is good in some situations, and disastrous in others.
When writing that negative topic about those closest to you, think about the potential ramifications if that person (or a friend of that person) reads the post. If you happen to blog about hating your future in-laws and they read it, think about how quickly your fiancé (or fiancée) will call off the wedding.
Chances are, if you write about those dear to you, then there’s people you know personally that read your blog. People love to gossip, and there will be nothing to stop them from passing along some “useful” information to those you’ve written about. I’ve seen it happen a lot of times, especially on those infamous MySpace blogs.
When airing your dirty laundry, do the newspaper test. If your blog entry showed up on the front page of every newspaper, would you be okay with it?
My Hourly Diary
There are some blogs out there that can be potential cures for insomniacs. In fact, some blogs should have a warning that says, “Do not operate heavy machinery after reading some of my blog posts.”
The blogs I speak of are the diary-type blogs where the blogger goes into near microscopic detail of the person’s life. You’ve seen them. Hopefully you abandoned the blog before any long-term damage took place.
These diary-type blogs are okay, but sometimes there is simply too much detail. Imagine reading a daily post such as this:
“I woke up this morning. My cat wouldn’t stop meowing. I put on some pants and went to the restroom. Felt better. I brushed my teeth. I need new toothpaste. Have to go to work. Nobody’s commenting on my blog. I wonder why? Will write more later. Bye.”
I can imagine this comment on a post like that, “I woke up too! Sweet! We have something in common.”
I hope that you’ve gathered that there is a point when you give your readers too much information.
Blogging is a great way to get your thoughts out. Blogging is also great for providing information, critiquing, and starting online friendships.
However, there are some topics that should be avoided at all costs. For one, nobody really cares about your cat. People could care less about you being too busy, or the lack of comments on your blog. Also, airing dirty laundry about those closest to you is rarely a good thing. The last thing mentioned was giving readers too much information regarding your personal life.
Please choose carefully what you blog about. The sanity of your readers is at stake.