Blogging, RSS & Feeds
Writing Quality Blogs
Writing?Blogs?Blogs are on-line journals where people express themselves through writing. Writing?Writing is the process where one puts down words of a language on a format that others can read. This process has not been around very long, to use one of my writing teacher?s favorite sayings, ?Writing has only existed for one day in the one year that humanity has existed.? Speaking and thinking come much easier than writing. These processes just flow out naturally like a river of consciousness; sometimes we hardly have to think about doing them. Anyone and everyone can write words down on paper but that doesn?t mean it?s ?good writing?, myself included. Like most things in life, our society already takes writing for granted which is proving to expose more of our ignorance. Writing is a new form of expression, and if we want to do it in a way that the masses can connect with our ideas, we have to think much more simply and clearly about this art.
Now that was quite a big paragraph, you?ve got to wonder if I really needed to say as much as I just did to introduce this article on the best way to write your blogs on the Web. I didn?t even mention this main idea, and that?s what an introduction paragraph is meant to be for. This is a common mistake in many blogs out there. We try to get too many ideas across in one paragraph, sometimes even in one sentence! The key, as in all things in life-is to keep it simple. Simplicity means that readers won?t get confused about what your journal entry is actually about. Introduce your main general topic at the start, and use the subsequent paragraphs to discuss separate ideas that relate to this topic. Try to tie everything up in the concluding paragraph, your main argument and the reason why you?ve written in the first place.
Grammar and sentence construction are not easy systems to master, especially if you come from a school system that spent more time telling you about historical battles and quadratic equations than on how to read and write. This is a real problem. When we speak we can get messages across to others easily, but if we put these words down on paper, the writing just isn?t interesting and doesn?t connect with people?s curiosities and fascination. When you write you are not talking to a close friend. You can?t use slang and colloquialisms that only your local community can understand. The aim is to connect with all the people in the world, so let?s make it crystal clear and enjoyable to read.
Your computer has spelling and grammar checks, as well as access to a thesaurus. Use them, but remember that the machine can?t decipher all the intricacies of language. Language is a world in itself, and much of its territories are undiscovered by the masses. So, again keep it simple. Short, precise sentences with single ideas are great. Many words in the English language have the same meanings (synonyms). Use the thesaurus so you don?t repeat the same word over and over throughout the text. It keeps the story fresh and doesn?t turn the reader off. There?s nothing more boring than repetition. Using different words can be a lot of fun and a learning experience, just make sure you use a dictionary (also on the computer/Internet) to make absolute sure of the word?s definition.
Readability?Simplicity?Make your blog accessible by all people. You can even take into consideration that many readers will have learned English as a second language. As I?ve said in previous articles, keep to the point-don?t go on tangents. Stick with the article?s topic, and definitely stay within the realms of your blog?s main area. If your blog is entitled ?Jazz music?, people who go there don?t want to hear about how your football team won on the weekend! Please be consistent. How irritating is it to visit a blog that hasn?t been written on in months or years?
I hope these little tips will help you on your quest to producing ?good? writing that brings new friends and acquaintances of similar outlooks into your world. If you want people to read, the aim is to produce an emotional reaction in your reader. Pretend you are writing to another form of yourself, if it were not readable, interesting and fun?would you stick around?
What in the world is up with the world of blogs? Blogs are meant to be this great new technology where people can share their ideas and interests with others around the globe. As far as I?m concerned the state of blogs is one of chaos, confusion, and anti-interactivity. The other day I decided to do some research on the Web and try to connect to some blog writers out there that interested me. Let me tell you it was not an enjoyable task as I had envisioned. I spent four painful hours surfing through around a thousand on-line journals, and I found only a few that interested me. What are we doing out there people?
First of all, just getting to a blog can be a pain in the arse. For example, you type in the words ?Philosophy blogs? and a whole bunch of sites come up. Some are conglomerate sites with thousands of journals, but the area you?re searching for may have only one blog in it! This is because they separate the blogs into a million different categories, like ?love?, ?lovers?, ?lovable? etc. Why not have just a few main categories to choose from?
The next problem is the content. People with ?philosophical? blogs are having personal chats with their mates about the local dance competition on Tuesday! Why not go to a chat room if you just want to talk to your friends? Blogs are supposed to be a personal viewpoint expressed to the whole Web community. Wouldn?t you actually like to meet more people like yourself? How is this going to happen if you talk in strange uncommon slang and acronyms that you and your friends can only understand? Please stick to the subject at hand, and take it at least half seriously.
Another major problem is the fact that you can find a really cool blog that sparks an interest, but then find that the writer hasn?t added an entry in over a year! What?s it doing on the Net? Have these people passed away? I seriously doubt it, as there are so many blogs in this ?lost? state. Having a blog is a responsibility; it?s a shared diary for the whole community. How can someone form a relationship if you only write in your blog once a millennium?
Back to the subject of content: These on-line journals are a real chance to communicate regularly with others with similar views to yourself. We can learn a lot from each other, as each human is an individual with special traits and skills that only they have. So why do we see so many blogs just talking about trivial nonsense like ?Who the coolest movie actor is.? Humanity is an intelligent species evolving everyday towards a higher consciousness. So where are all the thinkers out there, the people who have taken us to the next levels of spirituality and scientific exploration? I?d really like to hear what you?ve got to say, but all I can find are philosophical beliefs on why died pink jeans express one?s true inner self.
The issue of making comments on someone?s blog is also a controversial one. Why have comments sections if you?re not going to reply to people who have expressed an interest in what you?ve had to say? How is this community going to function if all the conversation is one-way! Come on people, wake up and smell the onions! Let?s change the blogging community into the awesome structure of shared knowledge that it was intended for. Please don?t let it turn into the small-talk world of chat rooms.
Writing Good Blogs
There?s a lot of blogs out there on the Web, most of which don?t entice one to go back regularly to read updates. What is missing from these on-line journals that would essentially make them ?good? blogs? Well, the answers in life usually come down to simplicities. So let?s look at the problem like we were children. Children don?t complicate life with miscellaneous information, and when they speak they tell you straight to the point exactly how they feel and think about a subject.
First of all, we should ask the questions,? Why do blogs exist? And what are they here for?? Well, in an ideal world ?good? blogs would help people connect, sharing knowledge and feelings about issues in life. As they are journals written by individuals we would hope that they?d be readable and open to comment by all other people, not just a select group of friends. The key is speaking in a way that is understandable by the masses, get rid of acronyms and local slang that only few will comprehend. Keep the sentences grammatically simple and generally short and concise.
Try to write in your blog as often as possible because if people enjoy reading your thoughts and ideas they?ll want to communicate or at least be filled in regularly on ?your world?. Ask questions, comment on other blogs of similar content, start communities with others you?ve never met, based on your interests. Keep focused; if your blog is about thoughts on war and peace, keep your thoughts on the latest movie and how hungry you are for somewhere else. The idea is to incite intelligent communication so that in time our collective stockpile of knowledge and wisdom will gradually grow like a tree in fertile soil.
I think of most importance is the fact that you want this journal to be ?good? reading. Of course we all have ideas about what genres and styles we like, but writing from your heart and soul is imperative for the connection with others that you?re looking for. Share yourself; don?t hide behind walls of fear of ridicule and judgment. In real life relationships trust, respect, intimacy, and unity are all necessary for a bond to form. It?s the same in the ?virtual? world; people want to hear from real people-not just one-sided, highly opinionated arguments from egos that don?t want to hear the ?other side of the coin?.
Now, in my last article I really tore apart most writers out there, and here I?m giving some pretty complex ideas on how to fix the problem of ?bad? writing. In my next article I?ll attempt to go back to the simple basics of how to write for beginners. I hope I haven?t come across as too judgmental, I just truly believe the ?blog world? could become a real asset to humanity, and at the moment it?s missing the mark.
Ideas about sentence structure, grammar, paragraphing, using a thesaurus (varying terms used so as not to sound repetitive), whether or not your blog is suitable for a personal or professional approach, are all important to creating a simple and enjoyable read for the blogging visitor. If you are a beginner, please check out my next article on the basics.
RSS is a Life Raft, Saving Us from a Sea of Useless Information
One of the main problems with the Internet these days is the fact that there is so much information out there; it can be quite hard to find the particular knowledge that you?re looking for. It can often feel like you?re surfing waves of thick chocolate fudge sauce and your honeycomb board has a crack that?s getting wider by the second. Over stimulus is the issue here; you wanted to read opinions from music enthusiasts about music, and every second blog article had to do with new punk hairdo trends and which band has the coolest tattoos. How can we find only the content we?re looking for without getting bogged down in miscellaneous information that erodes both time and patience?
The answer is in context. There?s now a way to sift through the cacophony of babble and wisdom to find exactly what you?re looking for. Instead of having to join clubs and organizations and receive their newsletters via email at their convenience you can now have control over what you receive. Having to search through millions of blogs to find the few you like has now become an obsolete task. The new system is called an RSS Reader: ?Rich site summary? or ?really simple syndication? are the common definitions of this software. The process begins by signing up to receive automatic updates from blogs and other Web sites that distribute summaries of their latest postings to your reader. You then find which ones you like and delete the rest. You can keep adding new sites until you have literally hundreds of informative connections in your areas of specific interest.
Another great aspect of the RSS Reader program is the fact that you can put in key words of interest and the computer will surf the Web for you and add new blogs and web sites to your list, rating them according to the terms you have selected. You then scan over these and add the ones you feel are relevant, deleting the detritus. Eventually you will have an email-style formatted file where you can search through all your favourite writers, news, and topics? latest information. Then you also have functions such as ?comment? so you can automatically share your input with your fellow humans. Or, you can reply to the ?messages? and actually communicate with the producers of the ideas.
This will really help to decentralise the information sharing processes of the current top-down mass communication systems like the media. We can hear multiple opinions on an issue and give our own views, instead of being told one story that is heavily affected by the company?s personal perspective of the situation.
So, you can see this has the potential for something quite big. Less time wasted, finding all the knowledge you?re looking for, and sharing your opinion and meeting others similar to yourself has never been so easy. The RSS Reader is a knife cutting away all the useless packaging, revealing the true content of the gift of the Internet.
I still consider myself to be a blog writing novice but as I?ve got a few entries under my belt I can tell you about an unexpected bonus of this journaling process. A lot of people think that blog writers are just people who are tooting their own horns blabbering on self-righteously about what they believe to be true in life. On the contrary, for me writing a blog has helped me to reflect on my experiences that I may have otherwise have forgotten if I hadn?t written them down. It has become a process of self-actualization, whether others have read my thoughts has become less of a priority for me.
When I read over my past entries I am surprised to hear about thoughts, ideas, and wisdom that is quite relevant to my present experiences. It?s like I already knew some of the solutions to my problems in the present, but I still had to go through the experiences to actually have this knowledge become truly learnt. I also find it rewarding in both the respects that I get to ?relive? certain moments in my life, and I get to analyze my previous thoughts. This analysis often leads me to new ideas that I couldn?t see clearly when I was in the original moment.
?Reliving? past experiences by reading old journal entries can be a powerful experience indeed. You can be transported to the moment in time you were writing about, as well as the moment and feelings you had when writing the blog entry. Experiencing these events and feelings again can be a really enlightening process, especially if the emotions you had were strong ones.
An example of this from my blog www.thepowerofeverythingthatis.com is a recent upheaval of emotions I wrote about when a young lady I?d been dating and really started to like a lot told me she didn?t want to kiss me anymore. Now when I read this entry I can feel those same painful feelings, but in a new light as the time has passed and I?ve moved on. It gives me hope in understanding that all feelings pass, and also in the knowledge that all things happen for a reason. This knowledge I couldn?t see at the time as I was totally enveloped by my agony.
These insights into past feelings and thoughts have been an eye opener for my self-introspection process. I think the blog can give you the chance to get to know yourself better, something all humans could find beneficial. All of us are on quests to find out who we are and why we are here on Earth. The blogging process might just be another avenue for people to find out who they truly are. Keep on writing my friends!
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