A blog about blogging

In today’s online culture, blogging, be it video, audio, or good old print, is one of the foremost means of spreading news and opinion.

The blog has given rise to the citizen journalist, the person who writes about current events from a first-person view, including his or her opinion and feelings in the story.

Sounds great, no? Get online. Write about the antics of Aunt Myrtle’s cats, and instant reporter, right?

Not so much, no. While the subject matter of a blog can be pretty much anything, there are a few things that need to be done if one wants readers.

First, grammar. Although the English language is a living, growing mass of idiom, knowing the rules of language and using them will allow you to know which rules can be broken and when.

This is not to say that every blogger should know the meanings of such mysteries as the dangling participle and other such errata, just that a working knowledge of the written version of the language would be helpful.

Next, although not professional works by any means, blogs should be proofread and edited.

MS Word, and other writing programs usually have a spelling and grammar check but those functions frequently make mistakes.

Finally, format is key. Nothing will make a reader’s head ache and cause them to give up faster than blocks of text with no discernable changes in mood or tone.

Use paragraphs. Break when the subject or point of view changes. Maintain a consistent font and color; the sudden breaks for a giant blast of all caps, rainbow lettering in 42 point Comic Sans might seem funny to the blogger, but the readers will lose the flow of the work.

Finally, pick a subject and stick to it. If a blog starts out telling a serious story from the author’s life, and suddenly jumps to talking about Twinkies, the reader can become confused.

If there’s more than one subject to a blog, use mini headlines. These are one of the exceptions to the consistent format rule, but only so far. Keep the headlines consistent with each other.

Break the blog down into shorter entries, cover everything that needs to be covered on one subject, skip a line, and start a new section with a new headline.

Blogs are the free press of the masses. Through them, opinions can be broadcast, stories can be told, and the people can voice those needs and beliefs that might otherwise go unspoken.

But despite that lofty statement, this author would personally prefer to drink a battery acid cocktail rather than sort through one more brilliant opinion written illegibly.

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