Monday, December 13, 2004

Blogging rules!

Why is it that when something is new(ish) and fun and provides an unrestricted, entertaining outlet for reader and writer alike, somebody, somewhere, has to come up with "tips" that - no matter how well-meant - immediately constrict and restrict that freedom?

I'm talking about an article by one
Priya Shah that I reached by following a link from another blog (and it has some nice pics, this blog!). I've nothing against the style of the article, it's well-written and to-the-point. It's just some of the contents to which I object.

For starters, Ms Shah says: "Opinions are fine, but unless you're the CEO of Microsoft, very few people will want to know what you ate for breakfast." I beg to differ on that. The normal everyday events of some stranger's life CAN be interesting, even riveting, as long as that stranger can write in such a way as to engage your interest. Humour works for me, as it probably does for a lot of people. I'm perfectly happy to read about things, places, people and events that are of no relevance to me, if it's written in an amusing, casual style. I'm sure it would be the same for others too.

The next line is: "If you started your blog to air your raves and rants about the latest movie you saw, better mention movies in at least every post you write." Whoa! I dont THINK so! Not unless the blog was meant for movie reviews only, and nothing else. Imagine someone whose first post was about a movie, being forced to think up ways to mention movies in EVERY post thereafter even if the topics were as varied as Bill Gates' super-duper mansion or George Bush's latest verbal faux pas!

The whole point about starting a blog is the sheer freedom of being able to do so, and write about anything you want, however you want, as much as you want and NOT FOLLOW A SINGLE RULE OF GRAMMAR - if, of course, that's what you want. To be fair, I wouldnt recommend incomprehensibility because it would put readers off. But if you dont care about readers, BE incomprehensible! It's your right as a blogger.

Ms Shah then says: "The worst sin you can commit is to bore your readers." Ah, but if one were to worry about boring potential readers, nobody would write at all! There's bound to be somebody who objects to your writing, somebody who thinks it's a waste of time, somebody who finds it boring. The plus side is that it's equally likely that you'll find some fans. Still, there's no way of pleasing everybody all the time, or everybody some of the time, or even anybody sometimes! So the best thing to do is please yourself. Which, if you ask me, IS the point of a personal blog. It's the one place where you do not face restrictions from editors, reporters, ad people, column space or any of the zillion other things that affect media writers in their official capacity.

And finally: "If you think you can meet the requirements above, and know your why, then like the shoe people say - just do it." And if you cant, what then? You dont deserve to have a blog at all? I dont think so! I say (like the aforementioned shoe people): Just do it anyway.
Blogs are for the freedom to write for the heck of it, for the joy of it, to express personal opinions and views, to share feelings and emotions, comment on everyday happenings or world-changing events - and not worry once about censorship, readership, penmanship or, for that matter, the time and space continuum. Blogging rules are unnecessary... and that is why blogging rules!


Harish said...

Hear hear!!

1. If I'm not allowed to write abt my life (boring..but hey, it's MY life), I might as well stop blogging.

2. I can't go on reviewing every music album forever! :)

3. I kinda like ur rules better, Shyam. :)

As for the "current" point, I'm not as informed as say LazyGeek or Ferrari. These guys love to stay on their toes collecting info. I'm jus plain lazy! And I WILL blog!

Prabz said...

Here we go.. When I first read the 'Rules'.. I was taken aback.. I think it was too "Blogging for dummies".. :) And was lookin for a debate... 'n we go now.. ;)
I second almost all your points..

Prabz said...

And that smiley is cool.. I gotta get some :)

F e r r a r i said...

Very true Shyam. What the heck? It is our blog and we decide what we do. If we start looking at what pleases the readers and go in that direction, the fun of blogging goes.
1. Regarding current topics, its just a way of sharing information. I used to mail my friends before about these things. Now I post it in my blog. Reduces network traffic :-) That too occassionaly. I dont my blog to be a news portal or a flash news site
2. If there is a rule that only experts can comment on a topic, then half the people in the world should stop talking and conversing
3. Regarding boring the readers, it is absolutely crazy. Formula 1 might be boring 998/1000 people. But thats thrilling to the remaining 2. So what the big deal if I post about formula 1?
4. Blogging frequency. It depends on mood and situation. Somedays I might feel like blogging 10 times a day and sometimes once in 10 days.

Last but not the least. I blog because I want to scribble something and post it. I dont blog so that many people have to come and appreciate me that I have a blog and its good. nah..

Who is someone to decide or instruct me what my blog should look like? If they want it let them have their own blog with such specifications.

hari said...

Hi Shyam,

Priya might well be advertising her blog terming it indirectly as technically perfect, impersonal and interesting to others.

What comment did you give to her. I am sure you would have shown her the place where she belongs and stop growing to larger than life size.

Sowmya said...

Well said. I agree.. The rules seem to be totally unfriendly to blogging.. What one person finds boring might be interesting to the another perso.
Blog what you want to, when you want to.. Thats the only rule..

ABCD said...

D'oh! Looks like I've been a bit late in reading this blog. Everything I wanna say has already been said above.Thumbz up to breaking the rules (My college-life thrives on it) :-)

Anonymous said... right you are re: no rules necessary for blogging! I'm also reminded of what Ramya said earlier about how emotions run one's life; the current one being blogging! :) Ravi

None said...

i have just one thing to say, I SO TOTALLY AGREE!
and may i add, one of my good old friends used to throw a phase at whoever was unfortunate to confront him with rules. He'd just toss his head up and say, "who cares, o.k.?"

Mobile Homemaker said...

I can't think of an article I agree with more. That was terrific, and... well written!


Priya Shah said...

Hey thanks for your comments, Shyam,
I really appreciate feedback, whether its criticism or kudos. Just for the record, my audience is business-related and although my article did get posted on a personal blog, it was meant for business bloggers not personal bloggers. For those blogging for the purpose of business some rules are in order since people have been fired from their jobs for blogging about their companies. I agree with you completely that personal blogs should be an unfettered expression of a person's emotions. Warm regards and keep writing.
Priya Shah