1. Know Thyself (and Thine Audience)
One of the rules popular blogs tend to follow is to narrow in on a niche. Let readers know what to expect when they visit. I break that rule (and consequently will likely never have a popular blog). My motivation for writing is not page views, subscriptions, or attracting comments (though I am always thrilled when comments are posted). I write because I enjoy it. I write to let friends and family know what i am doing. I write to motivate myself to try new things. I write because it seems like the right thing to do.
I do my best to avoid becoming one dimensional. It would be easy for me to become baseball-centric on this blog. My goal is to balance serious with humorous, sports with arts, and text with photos.
2. Be Real (but not real stupid)
My intention is to allow my personality to permeate my blog, yet still keep a level of privacy. Things published on the internet are like diamonds (they are forever). In writing for this blog I try to use a filter of common sense. I try to stick to things I would discuss openly in everyday conversation. I avoid some sensitive topics. As much as it pains me, one question I ask myself frequently before clicking the publish button on a post is: could this post cost me a job?
3. Proofread (but don’t get hung up on editing)
I’m a contradiction when it comes to grammar and punctuation. On some issues I’m quite sensitive, on many I’m rather callous. I love the written word. You can shape and form words, edit and polish. Good writing reads like sophisticated talking. For this blog my goal is to write in a casual conversational fashion. This means I break rules of grammar (it also means I add a lot of parentheses). I try my best to proofread my posts, but I’m sure my blog is littered with mistakes.
4. Avoid Identifying People Specifically
One of the frequent problems I encounter is how to refer to other people on my blog. I want to respect the privacy of others, so I do my best to avoid too many specifics about the people I interact with. My usual protocol is first names only, though sometimes I refrain from even using those.
5. Publish Sober
I mean this on two levels. Level one applies to libations. If I’ve had more than two drinks I will not publish anything. Even if it seems like a really good idea at the time. Level two applies to an emotional or mental state. Merriam-Webster defines sober as: “showing no excessive or extreme qualities of fancy, emotion, or prejudice.” Consequently, this means I do my best to avoid posting anything when I’m very frustrated or angry about something. I have only ever wiped one blog post from existence after publishing it and that occurred when I violated this rule (it was a rant against Andy Reid after a game in which his play calling was very questionable).
We’re living in a time when mistakes can be broadcasted around the world in seconds. Words and pictures become part of the public record. I urge any personal blogger who has not considered the longterm ramifications of this to do so. Don’t be afraid to have a web presence, but be smart about it.