I started blogging in December of 2003. When I started blogging, most people asked me, “what’s a blog?” Now it seems like everyone and thier grandma has one, literally. I love that people blog, because that means they are WRITING, a lost art in our culture. Maybe it has taken the place of the handwritten letter (when was the last time you did that?). Along the way, I’m not ashamed to say, I’ve learned a little bit about blogging. Blogging is whatever you want it to be, but it can turn into a nightmare if you aren’t careful. These are not hard and fast rules, just things that I practice.
1. Know your audience / purpose. I write primarily for family and friends. That said, I also enjoy meeting new people through my blog. Some people blog for cash, and that is definately not me. The pressure of having to blog every day for an audience would take the fun out of it. The details of your child’s every milestone may be breathtaking to grandma and grandpa – but a snore to your single or childless friends. I try to make the entries about Eli short and to the point, and include other entries that have nothing to do with him at all. If you are writing primarily for the fam, go to town on the details. Just know who you are writing for. I also enjoy posting Paul’s photography. If you have a hobby, don’t be afraid to show it off.
2. Think about the future. When our son was born, my husband was pretty adamant that I start password protecting posts with personal information about him. Think about what your son or daughter will want the world to know in 15 or 20 years. We have no idea where technology will take us and what people (especially potential employers) will be able to find out. If you wrote it, it’s out there – forever. I admit, my husband is somewhat of a conspiracy theorist, but I respect his desire to keep our family safe.
3. Comment. If you want comments on your blog, give them on other people’s blogs. If someone comments on your post, return the favor with a comment on thier post. It’s psycological, but people are more willing to put the dialouge out there if you initiate. That said, don’t blog for comments. Don’t write something just because you are hoping it will get comments – because you will always be disappointed when it doesn’t. When I started blogging I didn’t care whether anyone read it, but when people did start reading it, I came to expect it. You WILL have people who always read but never comment on your blog – and that’s just fine.
4. Think about privacy – yours and others. Never post pictures of other people’s kids (or anyone, for that matter) without asking them first. Never tell future plans that involve leaving your house (ie. I’m going to Hawaii for two weeks – come rob my house). Do not give specific information about a fellow blogger that you know in real life. Don’t write personal information on your public blog and then complain that people know personal information about you. It doesn’t make sense.
6. Don’t talk about work. Seriously, people have been fired over this. Similarly, don’t complain about inlaws or family. Don’t say anything on your blog that you wouldn’t say in front of your family or co-workers. This will prevent the freakout session that follows the realization that “my mother in law / boss / students found my blog.” It’s not a pretty freak out.
7. Have fun. If blogging ceases to be fulfilling for you, then maybe you’ve gotten off track. Don’t be afraid to let youself shine through. Write about issues you are passionate about. Write about something you thought was funny, even though you are sure no one else will. Sometimes, we have more in common than we think we do. Sometimes you will be appreciated for who you are by suprise, by people you never though would like the real you.