There are so many people out there telling each of you why blogging is great, but what about the other side of the coin? In a paradoxical Universe, all things can be looked at from polar angles of positive and negative, not to mention the ability to perceive any one situation or concept in numerous ways. I had a look ‘out there’ to see what some people don’t like about blogs and why.

At a post from a blog called ‘Shanti’s Dispatches’ I read a post entitled, ‘Top 10 Reasons Why Blogging is Like Attending a Liberal Arts College’. This fellow literally (pardon the pun) equates blogging to all of the negative experiences he went through when visiting a liberal arts college. Here’s the list: I think all of these points are valid. There are people in all areas of life that fail to reach a standard of work that other individuals will be pleased with.)

  • Everyone thinks they know more than the next person about whatever happens to be the subject.
  • No one’s afraid to speak their mind, even on subjects they really know very little about
  • Traditionally taboo dinner-table conversation subjects that can lead to heated debate (such as Politics, Religion, etc) are not off limits
  • In fact, taboo subjects are an encouraged topic. You’re supposed to be learning from one another, after all. But do you really? =)
  • When someone gets a factoid wrong, there’s never a shortage of asswipes around who will correct you (*ahem* fact check your ass, as they say these days)
  • College: you brag about your SAT scores, until you realize it really doesn’t f’ing matter anymore. Blogs: you brag about your traffic, # of links, or amount of ad revenue your blog generates. (only, you keep doing so because you still think it matters)
  • College: when confronted with someone who actually does know more than you, just throw out an amorphous concept like ‘post-modernism’, ‘deconstruction’ or ‘nihilism’ to pretend like you know what you’re talking about. Blogs: throw out a buzzword like Web 2.0, Ajax, User-Generated Content, RSS, Squidoo, Wikis, etc
  • College: there was always some hot new party every weekend at a new location. Last week’s has already been forgotten. Blogs: there’s always some hot new story or meme making the rounds, quickly forgotten and tossed into the dustbin of Technorati
  • You develop a huge network of ’semi-friends.’ People you kind of know and could say “What’s up?” to at a party or as you pass by in the virtual comment halls. Upon graduation (or abandoning a blog), you will never see or interact with any of these people again in your life.
  • College: there was never a shortage of cheap beer. Blogs: there’s never a shortage of cheap, one-liner comments. “Great post!”, “I agree. Blogged at: …insert-reblog-post-url-here…

So, in listening to the critical opinions of others we can hope to improve the quality and integrity of our blog writing. Listening to Shanti, I think we might need to (in order of bullet points above):

  • Be humble about what we know and write about. Realise that there are usually people out there that know as much or more about a subject as you. Saying that though, don’t be afraid to believe that you have stumbled across some new concept or idea that could help the world. All innovations come from people, often individuals.
  • Only write about what you are knowledgeable about. Ask questions about what you don’t know. Again, be humble and have integrity. Don’t pretend to be someone you aren’t. People appreciate honesty and humility.
  • Be respectful and conscious of how our words might affect others, especially when it concerns topics close to people’s hearts-like their lifestyle, religion etc.
  • This is a great medium for the sharing of thoughts and ideas. We can learn from one another, but if we are simply arguing a point without tolerantly listening to other perspectives…what are we doing on the Web?
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If someone is nice enough to correct you, take it in good stride-you’re human and it helps you learn and grow. If they criticise and put you down, you know that they’re not worth being concerned about.
  • Again, be humble. If you have a lot of traffic that’s great! (I don’t yet know what it’s like, but it must be fun!) J Still, no one ever likes the show-off who for whatever egotistical reason needs to tell everyone how great they are. Be proud you worked hard and got to where you are, but realise that you probably only got popular because you related to people in a way that they respected.
  • Using verbose language that others don’t understand doesn’t help the blogging communicative process. Keep it simple, unless your blog is for astrophysicists and no one else.
  • Don’t jump on the band wagon. Stick to talking about the content that you’re passionate about.
  • Attempt to make real connections and relationships with fellow bloggers. If someone doesn’t speak on your wavelength, they can only truly become an acquaintance. This whole business of blogging is about meeting others of like mind by sharing a part of ourselves. If you’re fortunate, you’ll make some really good friends.
  • Be specific when commenting on other’s blogs. You can’t really get much from a one-line response. Take the time to express yourself and people will appreciate it.

Jesse S. Somer is quite aware of many things that he needs to improve on. There’s a dark side to everything, but the only way to improve ourselves is to be aware of these faults. The key is to see our challenges in a constructive way and look for solutions, not putting ourselves or others down. This goes for blogging too. There’s going to be stuff that doesn’t sit well with us, that’s life, if you don’t like it-set an example and show us how it’s done properly!