Gina Trapani shares her thoughts about short-form blogging (rebounding from Andy Baio’s thoughts) and I found it hard to resist commenting, so here goes.
If it’s a paragraph, it’s a post. Medium-sized content gets short shrift these days. Don’t go long. One or two paragraphs count. Then press publish.
That’s all too true. For a long time I thought my articles were too short, now I don’t mind. What’s important is to share and bounce your ideas around.
Negotiate a comfort zone on two axes: personal and public, tech and everything else (feminism, musical theater, MMA, parenting, etc). 2001-era Scribbling.net was too personal, Lifehacker/Smarterware too tech. There’s something in the middle.
A long time ago I tended to publish comic-book-related content on a comic book website, short stories on a short stories website, web-related content on a web-related website. You get the thing.
And then, one after the other, these sites dwindled and the content was lost. We can afford our own websites, let’s publish any article there and benefit from long-lasting permalinks and perennial contents. Some friends complain that my blog embraces too many subjects, some others love the idea of being one person with multiple interests.
Your mileage may vary.
Traffic is irrelevant. Don’t even measure it.
By all means don’t. First and foremost, write for yourself and for friends.
Simplify, simplify. No comments. (Maybe G+ or Disqus later on?) Use Markdown and Draft to write. No pages, no requiring an image every post. No categories, tags, footnotes, special post styles, pages. Virtually no plugins. Default WordPress installation with the most stripped-down theme possible.
I must say that for a long time I’ve thought comments were the real value of blogging. Now I question it more often, as Twitter and such have become the place where people comment, and comments here have reduced to robots trying to inject spam. Yet I cannot resolve myself to closing comments. Sometimes the mechanism is still useful.
Ask for trusted collaborator feedback. Clarify ideas when you’re not sure how they come across. Run a draft by people you trust.
Yup, do that. Except for your personal blog: enjoy the improvisation (this is what I’m doing right now).
Have fun. Blogging is not your job. Don’t add it to your to-do list. If it’s not fun and you’re not done? Screw it. Take the baby to the park instead.
Again: yup. This is a hobby, don’t make it a chore. I wanted to write yesterday, and instead went out with my boy and dug out weeds from our front lawn. Sweating a bit, swearing together. Enjoying the masochistic experience together, hehe.