Category Archives: Writing Purpose

Blogging Purpose

As a blogger, I think one of the necessary discussions for digital writing is how to go about creating a meaningful blog. It seems a trend that people who think they should get into blogging assume their blog must be about themselves.  I myself started blogging as a sort of diary or journal merely for my own purposes.  But this brings up an interesting set of questions.  Do people really want read about my life, and if I’m going to write about myself, how do I do it in a way to engage readers?

There are a great many ideas worth blogging about. There are so many different kinds of blogs that blogging itself hardly has a definition.  At some point, a blogger must locate a theme, style, genre, or purpose and then write to the audience she wants to engage.  This is self-promotion, to some degree.  And when it comes to blog promotion, harnessing an understanding of your audience and knowing what the best blogs look like will help promote your blog.

Now, first of all, your blog must have a theme and recurring content of its own. Simply starting a blog account just so you can have arguments with people isn’t good blogging — it’s antisocial behavior and, frankly, a possible sign of a personality disorder. Negativity doesn’t translate well online. Then, what you need to do is a pick a theme that interests you, preferably one you’re fairly knowledgeable about already. Then work on providing good content in line with the suggestions provided by any reputable blogging advice site. Update regularly, frequently and with good material.

Honestly, the only way to grasp what is good material, you have to read. Read other blogs, preferably within your chosen theme, of course. Choose people whose work you agree with, some whose work you disagree with and, for flavor, a few people who are back and forth on your radar — neither just right nor entirely wrong all the time.

Reading will give you insight into what’s going on with your chosen topic. It’s the same as all types of writing — to be a good writer you must be a reader.  Being well read will give you more to say to your own readers, because you’ll be well-informed and up-to-date on all the hot topics. Also, it’s a good establishment of your ethos to participate in the commenter communities of these blogs, establishing a reputation for yourself as someone who provides insightful commentary and polite participation.

All the best blogs keep their readers coming back because they keep to their themes and they update material frequently.  Blogs left untouched for too long don’t maintain audiences.

For more tips on beginning blogging, check this article: http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/6123-ten-starter-tips-for-blogging-success

 

Social Media and Creating the Online Self

It should be a very key concept in writing studies that writing online means creating a version of yourself that will ultimately reflect on your reputation.  Most social media users probably wouldn’t think of themselves as writer, when, in fact, that is what they are.  We are creators of internet versions of ourselves, which can be both empowering and detrimental at once.

I see all sorts of bad choices on Facebook pages every day.  The destroyed language. The derogatory remarks. The gossip.  What we need is to remember that there are rules of engagement in social media communities.

Here is a helpful set of Rules laid out by Eric Brantner from Digital Labz:

1. Give More than You Receive- If you want to receive attention from others online, you have to be willing to give it first. It’s the old “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” routine. You can’t bust onto a social media site with a sense of entitlement thinking you should be a top user immediately. You have to earn respect from others. How do you do this? By giving more than you receive.

2. Don’t be a Keyboard Gangsta- Probably the worst thing about the Internet is the keyboard gangstas. You’ve surely run across at least one of these in your lifetime. They sit at their keyboard talking trash to everyone they encounter. They say things online that they would never have the nerve to say to a real person’s face. Don’t try to ruin everyone else’s online experience because you don’t have any friends in real life.

3. Add Value to the Site- At the end of the day, the thing that will earn you great connections with others is if you add value to the community. This means not submitting content that nobody cares about and not constantly promoting your brand. Before you ever submit anything to a social media site, ask yourself “Does this article really add value to the community?” If not, reconsider submitting it.

4. Don’t Sabotage Other’s Efforts- This is self-explanatory. Drop all of your e-beefs and hatred. Don’t try to bury others just for the sake of getting ahead. Making enemies on social media sites will get you nowhere fast, and you really do reap what you sow.

5. Remember that Cheaters Never Win- Instead of trying to game the system, why don’t you focus on building a successful social media presence the right way. Sure, you might be able to get some amazing results by cheating, but eventually, you will get caught. And once everyone sees you for the cheater you are, you can’t un-ring that bell.

6. Build Quality Relationships- People are more willing to help those who they really know. By building quality relationships with other users, you’ll always have someone in your corner to back you up. Remember, relationships require the participation of both parties; so, always be a good participant in your social media relationship.

7. Stop Pushing the Envelope- One of the fastest ways to alienate people online is to constantly flood them with requests for helping you out. Whether you’re constantly shouting your content or always Tweeting asking people to comment on your blog, eventually, everyone will lose their patience with you. It’s like the boy who cried wolf. People will tune you out if you’re constantly pushing the envelope.

8. Respect the Community- This might be the most important rule of social media etiquette. Show respect to the community. It’s not that hard to do. Just make sure you don’t step out of line, and always treat everyone the way you want to be treated. These are simple social skills you should already be following in real life; now, you just have to follow them online too.

9. Listen to Others- Your first reaction whenever someone disagrees with you online is probably to tell them how wrong they are. Instead of constantly fighting back, take the time to listen to what they’re really saying. Listen to the people commenting on your blog or Tweeting at you. Understand where they’re coming from. You don’t know everything, and you can learn from others if you take the time to listen.

10. Be Accountable for Your Actions- Because of the anonymity the Internet allows, there is little to no accountability online. People say and do whatever they please without facing any repercussions. Don’t be that guy. Instead, try to be honorable by taking responsibility your actions online. By being accountable, people will respect you, whether they agree with you or not.

11. Be Nice- All of these points add up to one thing—just be nice. Is it really too much to ask for people to be kind to one another? Call me old-fashioned if you like, but there’s nothing wrong with being nice to others online.

(http://digitallabz.com/blogs/the-11-rules-of-social-media-etiquette.html)

Why Write Right?

It’s true. I’m a teacher. But I am not the strict, slap-your-hand-with-a-ruler type when it comes to the English language. What I do hope to accomplish is help to generate discussion regarding best methods available to modern writers.  This also means taking into consideration the materials and means that aid writers in their craft, especially in the digital age.

It is worth noting here that I take a practical and pragmatic approach to writing instruction.  I am less interested in technical applications than the execution of ideas; however, I feel that an individual may build ethos (reputation) by learning the most widely accepted and recognized rules.  Because we engage in dialogue and participate in media-supported social interactions every day, it becomes more and more pertinent to demonstrate precision.  One badly misspelled, mis-punctuated, or poorly written email can change others’ views of your capacity for communication.  Since writing is everyday reality, we must all be conscientiously dedicated to “writing right”.

So this website is a practical applications page.  I will draw from suggestions, questions, dialogues and observations and work to create coherent, usable tips and pointers to help individuals enhance their skills.  I welcome feedback and interaction to continue the ongoing conversation that helps to hone writing craft.

I’m not going for formalism here; in fact, what I hope is that this page will be light-hearted, humorous and helpful all at the same time.  Punishment over language does nothing but create stigma, and a stigmatized writer never finds a distinct voice.  So I will wield no red pens (nor did I ever as a teacher — I always used pink, blue, green or purple), and I will conduct my own editorial approach to the widely varying topics that outline the task of writing.

I am excited about this adventure, and I look forward to our discussions to come!