Oh when I woke up tonight I said I’m gonna make somebody love me…. and don’t you know don’t you know don’t you know, don’t you know that it’s yoooooouuuuu…
I think that would be the song that every blog post is singing to itself. Every blog post wants someone to love it, perhaps even truly believes that someone out there will love it. Of course, there has to be something about it that makes it at least likable…
While I was going through my incredibly hefty reader this morning, I found yet another fantastic post from Larisa (seriously, does her brain ooze awesome like this all the time?) about just WHY she likes the blogs that she reads. Needless to say, I was so intrigued by this that I just had to write a response of sorts. Perhaps needless, because I agree with pretty much everything that she said, but I would love to put my own spin on it. I absolutely insist that you read her piece first, because she has stated it much more intelligently than I can hope to. Larisa says that there are three types of blog (or blog post), while I essentially argue that there is two.
I honestly believe that many people get into reading blogs because they are looking for knowledge, or the pencil kind of blogs. The ones with lots of info and tricky calculations which I am sure took a lot of scribbling and erasing to work out. My first experience ever with a blog was researching some information for a resto druid friend of mine. Lo and behold, this led me to Phae’s wonderful place, where I still go today (even if I don’t understand all that icky math). I found BBB similarly looking for information when I first developed my interest in Feral druids. From there I would click a link here, click a link there, simply because I was determined that I would learn as much as humanly possible about every class and role in the game. I still haven’t achieved this yet, by the way, despite the 200+ blogs in my blog roll.
I would argue that informative blogs are the ones which get hit the most. I am not sure if a wide variety of people would read them consistently, but they would generate a lot of traffic and have perhaps the best reputations in the game. Everyone who plays a hunter knows who BRK is (or should). Hardly anyone who plays a Warlock knows me, and this makes a lot of sense.
Blogs which tell stories engage the reader in a different way. I read story blogs (by which I mean those which are not didactic, but more diarised or chatty) consistently, and like to feel as if I know the person behind the writing. Heck, I am sure that you are all like that as well! These are the pen style blogs, where someone grabs their pen and scrawls down their thoughts and messages for the day. A great example of people ‘knowing’ the person behind the blog is evident in the reaction to TJ’s news about her new partner – the internet en masse rallied together to say “Congratulations, but he had better treat you right, or ELSE!” Random strangers engage with these sorts of blogs in such a way that the people on them almost feel like family. My blog perhaps fits in this category, although I do not have nor seek the insane fandom that TJ has managed to accumulate. Besides, I really have no counterpart to her chicken nugget love! These blogs may not get as much new traffic. However, the same people tend to come back all the time, leave comments consistently, and a writer really begins to develop a relationship with their readers. I could probably name the handful of people who come here consistently and are kind enough to leave a comment or opinion on what I write. It’s just that sort of relationship.
I always wish that I could write well in the didactic style. I’d love to be considered a reference for Warlocks. However, between the fact that this writing style just does not suit me (I spend all day doing this didactic stuff, I can’t do it here) and that there are many excellent Warlock blogs and other references out there who I simply can not hope to surpass (Nibuca, TeePee, I am looking at you!), I feel more comfortable just being my chatty old self. Now, if I was writing about something I was truly knowledgeable about (which is only one thing in the whole wide world, how sad is that – The Russian Revolution and Stalinist Russia, huzzah!) I would be able to write in that style. Since I’m still working this stuff out, you are stuck with me as I am.
Of course, as I have said, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Now, there is something within these styles that captures a readers attention and holds it. Doesn’t matter whether you are writing to inform or to entertain, if you can’t hold the reader’s attention then they just aren’t going to stick around, or they will just find themselves interested in something more fun. Personally, I enjoy reading blogs where the person who is writing has a distinctive voice. Larisa mentions this as well. I want to be able to tell that this is your take on something. Honestly, there really aren’t many things which we can write about and be totally original with in WoW Blogs. Surely there isn’t all that much left! So, go ahead and talk about stuff we might already know, but do it in your own way. Be original and exciting (a big ask, I know). I enjoy reading things which are written in a blogger’s own ‘voice’, and those blogs get a heck of a lot of love out of me!