Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Response - Blogging

I am currently writing a blog about my exchange year here in the US, and therefore I was eager to see what kind of advice Robert Lee Brewer had to offer. He may not be serious but the first point in his list is a bit, well, self-evident. Yes you have to start a blog in order to write in it. “If you don’t have a blog, get one.” Right. Or maybe the keyword of this first tip was “today”. Start your blog today instead of just thinking about it. That’s the biggest advantage of blogs in my opinion: everyone can start a blog. It can also be a disadvantage though. Not everyone is interested or needs to know what you are doing or what is on your mind every single day. But then again, who decides what is valuable writing and what is not? Are artistic and professional photos more important than someone’s vacation snaps from Hawaii? In theory, everyone can get their voice heard in the blogging world.

Another thing that struck as odd to me was Brewer’s advice on the length of the paragraphs. He suggests that one paragraph should not be longer than five sentences, and he himself uses only three sentences. My reaction to this was something like this: “SERIOUSLY?” I don’t even want to count how many sentences my paragraphs consist of. Probably more like 50 instead of 5. What can you even say in five sentences let alone on three? I would not be able to even get to the point. Or even close to the point. That’s like having a bucketful of Ben & Jerry’s and only taking a spoonful. In my opinion, the text cannot have any kind of content if the paragraphs were that short and the text would be way too confusing to read. Even in a blog, I would like to read something that actually has a construction and is stylistically appealing. And if we would only write short paragraphs, I would say that the style of writing would suffer a great deal.

Brewer also comments on using pictures in blogs. He says “less is more”, but I disagree about this too. As Karol K says, pictures make our posts more memorable, they emphasize the message and they break the text nicely, creating pauses for the reader to think about what they are reading and also render the text easier to read. Personally, I find blogs that only feature text quite boring. I mean, I might read a post that I am really interested in but I doubt that I would return to the page, unless I know the writer of the blog personally. As a visual person, I need the photos or something that I can grasp more concretely than just the text. Of course, if there are photos only and virtually no textual content, I would not say that the writer of the blog is a “writer”. I would say that I have encountered a photography blog instead. And this indeed would not make the blog “bad”, it just happens to have different goals.


  1. I think that's a great point- the fact that everyone can blog is both an advantage and disadvantage to the existence of the medium. People who just blog about themselves and their lives usually have nothing very interesting to say. If they're doing it for their friends and family, or just for themselves are a form of self expression, I suppose it serves some purpose. But the fact is, most people aren't very interesting.

    An important aspect to managing a successful blog is understanding your intended audience. If you assume everyone will just take interest in your everyday doings, you're delusional. But if you can provide people with something useful, maybe either a specific demographic or a specific service, people may take interest. But if you just post your random thoughts, people won't care, unless by chance you are super-wicked interesting. Which if you were, you probably wouldn't have a blog because you'd be a movie star or something.

  2. I think personal blogs are like the genre of memoir: good writing can make the ordinary interesting. The personal blogs I enjoy tend to incorporate universal themes into their individual stories and they each feature a unique, compelling narrative voice. Often they are funny. Some include practical information alongside personal narrative in order to offer readers a service.