Tuesday, March 20, 2007
creating strong blog personality
You're the "the _______ that ________".
Fill in the first blank with who you are, what you do, what type of person you seem to be. Fill in the second blank with something special about you. Something that might even seem incongruent or absurd, when connected with the first fact about you.
The math teacher who's also a mountain climber and an author of children's stories. The soldier who writes poetry.
The marketing director who's an amateur astronomer.
The CEO who was the first civilian in outer space.
The homeless man who has a brilliant self-promotion idea that will soon be the next internet craze.
You're the rock musician that loves camping and hunting (Ted Nugent). The artist who manufactured art and publicity in a "factory" (Andy Warhol).
The sheetmetal manufacturer who makes stainless steel bedframes and headboards (Tinbasher).
The sensitive soul who blogs until it hurts, until a troll bites their ankle with a harsh critique, until the cops find incriminating statements in a transparent hysterical post.
You, the visionary CEO, the pioneering entrepreneur, the risk-seeking adventurer, the ingenious stay-at-home mom, unemployed college grad who's paying off a student loan through clever refactoring of beta technology and eBay mash-ups.
You must be the [your title] who is also [some other related or irrelevant quality, hobby, passion, interest that you talk about or should talk about on your blog].
Nick Usborne, in his remarkable book Net Words: Creating Powerful Online Copy, says early on that you either present a strong, memorable, superior online persona...or remain forgotten, obscure and lonely.
He says we must be different, in some way, somehow, so unique and assertive, that we break through the boredom barrier and burn a strong imprint in the reader's mind.
Usbourne emphasizes how a wishy washy, overly tolerant, confrontation-phobic, plain vanilla mediocrity has zero chance of surviving in the rough and tumble world of the web.
Blogospheric conditions can suddenly, spontaneously erupt with more turbulence and viral controversy than most other channels, especially considering the instant communication-distribution tools of comments, email, and RSS.
A seemingly lacklustre, tossed-off, dead tired, half-hearted, right-before-you-fall-into-bed blog post can abruptly, without warning, explode into a bedlam of contrarian fireworks, old guard hysteria, clueless onlookers, and volcanic combatants.
You could be a blogger who just happens to also be an anthropology graduate student, who sometimes explains a choice concept of Levi-Strauss, Konrad Lorenz, or Margaret Mead.
I'm the blogger who analyzes web sites for usability, makes noise music, and sometimes quotes Jacques Derrida. That's about it. I don't know what else to say. That's my entire bio, though it could be slightly and boringly expanded upon.
What makes you "you"? What else do you do besides blog? Anything? What makes you memorable, special, distinct? What differentiates you from the other 50 million blogs out there?
When you no longer exist here on earth, what will be depleted from the universe, what hole will you tear in the cosmos when you go?
It's often, once a person dies, expressed as an "always", as in: "He always took his dogs with him wherever he went" or "She was always confronting things in society that needed reform".
Whatever it is that makes you special, sprinkle it into your blog more often.
This is how you develop and display a strong blog personality, or blog persona. The words need to point at something other than themselves (your text) or other words (reader's comments, trackbacks, links, and emails).
Get more skillful at it. Learn more about it. Try new things with it. Read difficult books on the subject and eventually become an expert, with published articles and speaking engagements. Take the most extreme edge innovation in your field -- and push it way farther than anyone could possibly expect. Put a new twist on an aspect of your industry or product that seems least likely to ever be glamorous or interesting.
If your life is boring, if you crave attention from others, but have little to offer them except mundane drivel, it's your own fault. Make yourself more interesting, then blog about it. Peace.