Today we’re going to do something a little different. I’m going to take a post I wrote in my first six months of blogging and I’m going to analyze it from the perspective of modern Matt. This post was written on December 28, 2013, and it kind of sucks. I mean, it’s not bad, but it seems I was so adamant in my resolve to not change that it prevented me from growing up as a writer. However, since the post gets some search engine traffic, I’m leaving the original here for all to see. This is going to be a lesson in how maturing can be a good thing, and we should all be open to development.
So here’s the method. I’m going to keep the original post exactly as is, but I’m going add my commentary in italics after each point.
5 Rules of Blogging and Why I Break Them
First, apparently I had no clue about AP Style. You NEVER begin a title with a numeral. Ever. Period.
Eww, yucky picture. I mean, clip art is cool (a bit old fashioned) and all, but no where near as effective as stock photograhpy, or even better, making your own photography. I couldn’t be more proud to take my own pictures now.
I’m not a particularly big fan of rules, which is probably dangerous because I’m a communications major with a focus on public relations. It’s possible I love this field because it helps me decipher just how far I can go to be unique and creative without falling over the edge.
There are many understood rules among bloggers. Some of them you can find on various lists of blogging tips, but many of them are simply blanket statements that seem to stifle who you are. Let’s talk about five of them.
Okay, so no there’s not many understood rules about blogging. You can be the biggest jerk, or the nicest guy ever, and still be successful. When it comes to blogging, the only rule is that there are no rules. There are suggestions, but from what I’ve read, a lot of the suggestions contradict each other. Some say post every day. Another says to only post once a week. The only thing I’m being here is a false authority, and this is when I was only averaging like 15 views a day, if that.
You Need To Stick To Your Target Audience. This is the dumbest statement I’ve ever heard in my life. You need to find a target audience. You need to find a niche. If I here the word niche on one more publication about being a successful writer, I’m going to make a petition banning the word from the English language.
There’s only one way to gain an audience, and that is to talk to the world. If a person doesn’t like or care about what I have to say in a post, he or she can always come back tomorrow. But I should not have to limit the people reading about my life to young adults from Alabama. Life is a far more all-encompassing expierence than what can be limited to a socioeconomic group. The haters need to shut up and let me talk to whoever I want to. That’s the only way people will come to my blog in the first place.
Yikes Matt. Chill out. There are few synonyms for niche, and it’s not nice to tell people to shut up. Target audiences are a good thing, because they provide a more meaningful community as your blog develops. And niches allow you to explore a few individual topics on a much deeper level. Instead of firing off about things you know nothing about, you can grow as a writer with your audience. My blog is quickly becoming about self-contemplation, growth, relationships, loving others, and being adventurous. That’s way better than mouthing off about Phil Robertson or whatever.
Don’t Always Hit That Publish Button. The way I see it, there are only two reasons to not press the shiny red (umm… in my case blue) publish button. If the blog post is absolute grammatical crap, or if you’ve said something hurtful about somebody in particular. When that’s the case, fix the problem and then publish it.
I’ll give you a free pass if a house fire breaks out, but you better go back and publish it later.
No, Matt, whatever gave you the idea that you should publish everything you write? There are some posts you need to write, read, then click “Move to Trash” on your dashboard? Why? Because they don’t measure up to your personal standards of quality. They confuse your audience and make you look like an idiot.
Keep Your Secrets A Secret. This could be true, but in my case it lacks one very important piece of information. You see, I have no secrets. My life is an open book, and everything there is to know about me is contained within the annals of the 65,000 words (and growing) of this blog.
The way I see it, a life with secrets is no life at all. It’s a collection of evasions, keeping one person after another from finding out how dark you really are. Well here’s the truth, I am dark but I strive to be more and more like the savior I love every day. And by reading my blog, you are coming along for the ride. My life is an open book.
I’d say I’m partially right about this one. If you’re going to blog, you’ve got to be open to letting your insecurities show. You can’t be scared to talk about your experiences or fears. But that doesn’t mean you have to tell everything. This isn’t a personal journal, it’s a blog.
You’re Supposed to Seem Perfect. All these famous people like to put themselves out there and posture that they never mess up. People listen to them, thinking that they know far more about the secrets than they do. Well I’m not going to let you do that.
What you get from me is my life of vulnerabilities and my joy. Everything from my deepest darkest doubts that I ponder in the dead of night to the joyousness that I try so very hard to convey to everyone daily. I know nothing more than what God allows me to know. I’m just trying to grow as a person.
This is the only one I fully agree with. Still, Matt, you don’t have to bring God into every post to let your audience know your beliefs. Reference him only when needed. Be secure enough in your faith and your writings to not use him as plot device.
There Are Taboo Topics You Should Never Write About. Yeah… no. I am fearless when confronting any topic. So you as an audience needs to be prepared for anything. I promise to handle any topic I choose tastefully and with respect to everyone.
But I don’t run. If something needs to be written about or just won’t seem to go away, I’ll attack it head on.
Yeah there are, for me, and not long after writing this post I discovered two. First, never ever ever ever ever write about anything remotely related to sex if your from Alabama unless you want a pitchfork army raised up against you. Second, never harshly criticize a group of people, even if it could be justified at the time. It shows immaturity to fight with rebuking comments and not with art. Needless to say, both of those posts have been deleted, and both of those topics will never live on the blogosphere by my hand again.
So there you have it. A Link to the Matt will never follow conventional blogging wisdom. Why? Because it’s not a conventional blog. It is, in fact, a link to my soul.
Well that’s cheesy. I much prefer the current name of my blog, but I still work references to the old name into my posts occasionally. Anyway, I hope my current posts display much more maturity and quality. Based on feedback, I’d say that’s a definite yet.
I’d be the patron saint of avoiding the Daily Post prompt.