Europe’s Best blog shows how to add depth to a blog’s identity
Still touring the ‘Bloggies‘ blogging awards website I came across a blog that has successfully won the ‘Best European Weblog’ category for both 2005 and 2006. This blog is humorously titled ‘My Boyfriend is a Twat’ (great titles are so important for attracting attention). For the conservatives out there, the final word in the title is definitely being used in a comical context as opposed to one of vulgarity, which might be found in some pornographic material. When you come to this blog there isn’t anything that immediately jumps out at you to inform of its quality. It seems as though it’s simply one of the tens of millions of personal journal-type blogs that make up the majority of the Blogosphere, and strangely enough, that’s what it is. However, after closer inspection you will see that this is a blog that sets itself apart from most of the wider blogging community (thus its popularity). What makes it special is very subtle, yet very effective.
What you will find at this blog is a very personalised approach to the basic blogging format. If you’ve done a lot of surfing around the Internet you will know that many of the blogs out there are created from cookie-cutter templates. People have their posts, their categories, their bookmarks, a small biography, a place to leave comments etc. It can become a bit tiresome and repetitive. You end up asking yourself, ‘who is this person whose life I’m reading about? What makes them individual?’ The writer of the ‘MBIAT’ blog has obviously spent a lot of time (intentionally?) creating a space that is totally and utterly reflecting their way of interacting with the world. This creates a succinct, developed identity that readers can relate to successfully.
Basically, the blog is about a 40+ years old woman who has a boyfriend, who she likes to poke fun at. What better way to do it than write a blog about him? She also takes the normal approach of telling us about her everyday life experience. Isn’t it often so compelling that we are now easily being able to see into another human being’s (a ‘stranger’s) perspective on existence? Let’s take a minute to go in some detail about why her blog is more interesting than most.
- At the top of the blog are 4 main categories: Weblog, All About Me, 52 Questions, Photographs. Have a look at her ‘All About Me’ page. It has a few cool little lists like ‘Things I love’ and ‘Things I hate’ (not just ‘I’m an accountant blah, blah, blah’), as well as an ‘Executive briefing’ about her life for those who are ‘too busy’ to read the whole section. She’s got a real sense of humour and is always integrating it into the writing. The bio’s been updated as well (something more of us should do in case things in our lives have changed since the inception of our blogs). Check out down the side columns as well. She’s put in a lot of effort to make each one different from the ones on her basic Weblog page (great initiative).
- Side columns: On the main blog page she has a photo of herself, a description on what the blog is about, links to her ‘blogring’ friends, as well as bookmarks categorised as ‘Non-Twats’, AWOL Bloggers’, and ‘Boring Politicians for the Twat’. See, we can even be original and creative with our bookmark category titles. She has the usual email, RSS Feeds, and search engine, but then she’s also got a Guestmap (shows where site readers come from around the globe visually), and even has a Shopping Centre where faithful readers can buy merchandise like T-shirts, hats, coffee cups, postcards, and mousepads all adorned with her witty blog name.
- Still in the side column, she has a ‘Gimme, Gimme, Gimme’ donation button (keeping her silly approach, lightening up an otherwise serious issue-not many people don’t take money seriously) for monetary help from her readers/subscribers (you can get updated posts emailed). However, this also comes accompanied by her ‘Wish List with a Twist’ giving a real personal touch to why she ‘needs’ the money. E.G. A Best of Simon and Garfunkel CD! (She hates when people use exclamation marks-From the ‘Things I Hate List’). The items on the list are cheekily crossed off as she purchases them, which to me is cute, but also shows the real, honest human reasons why she’s asking for money as well as seeming honest about what she spends the cash on. This breeds a sense of integrity.
- Among more categories on this initial page are the links to ‘Twattisms: Quotes made by the ‘Twat’’. Enough said.
- The ’52 Questions’ page is a list of questions collated from queries by her readers about her life. It’s quite an interesting and informative read, which adds even more depth to her blogging character.
- Photos page: All of the photos are funny or interesting, have meaning, and are accompanied by amusing titles and information. This is what also made her bookmarks more worthwhile than the usual lists. Each one has a small summary stating in detail exactly what kind of blog they are.
- Comments are called ‘People spitting’ on her blog. Why does it have be called ‘Comments’?
‘Who needs a man, when you’ve got Marmite?’ (English toast spread)…“You put the Shat in Shatter, Put the Pain in Spain, Your germs are splattered about, Your face is just a stain” – John Cooper Clarke. These quotes as well as photos of the ‘Lazy Twat’, ‘Greedy Twat’, and ‘The Twat Gardening’ all help to give the blogging world a fuller picture of the blogger’s complete persona, thus making one feel as though you really know her. She states that the only men she could fall in love with have a sense of humor, and a great tongue-in-cheek, yet natural sense of humor is also what makes this blog extra-enjoyable.
Jesse S. Somer has come to realize that there are very few boundaries to creating a blog that is totally original, strongly and succinctly emphasizing one’s individual identity and personality (the key to becoming someone people want to ‘know’ in the Blogosphere).