Stand back and take a deep breath. Grab your crash helmet. What follows is an opinion piece. We’re talking about the view of a geezer writer, amateur blogger and garden variety blog reader. Your mileage will vary.
It’s like the old spaghetti western, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
The Good. Lots of ways to be good, so let’s set the bar a bit higher. Beyond “good,” there are a few titilattors that really stand out, always drag me back for more. Humor is number one for this geezer. I often follow those tags when I go blog trolling. Humor touches me. It grabs most folks, I suppose. It’s a way of sharing, a load-lightening gift for the day. Visual gags are also great. One of my favorite blogs has a tradition of putting a fat sausage on the heads of famous people. OK, call me silly, but I like it. Makes me laugh. Good, tight satire is a feast for the mind. It rounds out all those rough edges. So, put humor at the top of the list. It’s unselfish and fun.
I also enjoy those pieces that open up a small, secret window into the writer’s life. Now, I’m not talking about those dark tomes that spew depression, funk and anger. That doesn’t work for me. I like the posts that tell me something personal, something with which I can relate. Since I’m a writer, this usually involves stories about what young writers are experiencing as they work out their art. Love those. Also, those fellow geezers who have been around the trade a while and still have something interesting and personal to share. It’s the sharing that I enjoy most. It’s fascinating. Like humor, it feels good.
One more item: pure creation. I’m not sure how to adequately describe this one. You’ll know it when you read it though. It’s the kind of piece that just snaps out at you, gives you a different perspective. It has a tilt to the style, it tweaks and peaks your interest, makes you nod your head up and down. It’s fresh and entertaining. It can be on anything, so long as it takes the subject down a new or different path.
Keep the post short, for me. That works best. Something between 500 and 1000 words seems about right. I don’t want to work too hard. I don’t want to stay too long. I want to get in, have a good time, and get out. Tight is right, always.
The title has got to grab my attention. Weak title = no interest from this geezer. No interest = no read. An intriguing image is helpful but doesn’t really make or break the deal. Words matter most.
No, the sentence construction doesn’t have to be perfect. You can dangle a participle or two if you like. You can break the rules here and there. You can starve the commas or drown me in them. It’s all OK, so long as I feel like you’re talking to me and me alone. Keep it reasonable, though. If I see no separation between paragraphs, I bail. For whatever reason, that makes my eyes go crossed. Otherwise, I can handle a little funk here and there. Yep, go ahead and make up a word or two. Works for me. Short sentences make me smile, long ones make me itch.
The Bad. Blogs that are trying to sell me anything. Those that are trying to push me here or there, somewhere I don’t want to go. Lists of links. References to some other destination without good cause. Obvious money-grabbing schemes. Classic, in-your-face attention seeking behavior. Articles that whine, moan, groan, or otherwise dump negativity into my life. Blogs where the “I” word dominates the entire operation and is so obvious I choke. Pompous, arrogant know-it-alls who obviously don’t know what they’re talking about. Actually, arrogance of any kind, in any form. Anger, bad attitude, or a painful disdain for the Universe and everything that exists within. Hate in any form.
Titles like “I’m the Next Big Thing,” or “Haiku 47.3,” or “I Just Finished My 110,000 Word Novel in 10 Days.” You get the picture, right? I need to relate, which means you need to hook me with something real and substantive. Never brag, never confuse, never obfuscate, unless you can do it with a word smile.
Keep me away from political overload, unless you can make me laugh or you don’t have an obvious agenda. In other words, don’t preach at me. I can turn on the TV and get all I need.
Don’t beg. Ever.
The Ugly. Advertisements everywhere. Pop-ups, pop-unders, pop-all-overs. Colors that should never be seen together. Endless photos of people I don’t know. Fancy script where clean typeface will do. Too many flowers, hearts, glitz, floating doo-dads, and sparkling gadgets flying all over the page. Images that are supposed to be artistic but mean nothing to me or anyone else I know. Cartoons where they don’t belong. Anything profane, abusive, or just downright cruel.
Please, don’t offend my sensibilities. Be kind to the old folks. Raunchy works, but you’ve got to walk that fine line. Ugly is usually a state of mind, so don’t blast it all over your blog. Save it for your shrink.
OK, time to take another breath. That was quite a dump-post on its own, wasn’t it? I wonder if I just broke into two of these categories without regard to common sense. Well, I hope not. Remember, this was just an opinion, just another silly, whining blog post that should not change your life in any way.
It won’t change mine.