Main | Tuesday, June 28, 2005

THIS Blogger's Manifesto

(Edit: The preachy original title of this post was "A Blogger's Manifesto")

1. I will not maliciously name, or otherwise identify for the purposes of ridicule, a non-public person.

Example: That tall bartender at Limelight, the one with all those stupid tattoos? Every time I go to his bar, he's trying to hit on some twink, instead of serving his customers. He is such a lazy fuckwad, I don't know why they don't fire him.

Celebrities, policiticans, performers, porn stars....they're all fair game, as are fellow bloggers. Vicious and smug attacks on unaware people, no matter how well deserved, are lame.

2. If I link to another blog, news story, or opinion piece, I will tell you *why* I'm sending you there.

Example: Oh my god! I just read the funniest story! Everyone should go *HERE*!

Blind linking is pure laziness. If you want me to go off and read something, you should make me want to. Hyperlinking a fellow blogger as a method of identifying of whom you are speaking? That seems like a fair exception, but in most other cases it doesn't seem unreasonable to expect you to provide at least a brief explanation of why you think I'd want to click that link.

3. I will write each post so that a first time reader can understand it.

Example: Well, things didn't work out last night. Remember how much better it was at the last one? Debbie and Steve didn't show up. And to make things worse I saw HIM again.

Backstory is good, backstory is important. Ladening a post with unidentified people and cryptic references to past events is not the same as providing a backstory. Give me a couple of sentences to bring me up to speed, that's all I ask. If that is too complicated, backlinking to the post you are referring to is helpful. But don't do it too often. If I want to read your archives, I'll be the one to decide.

4. I will refrain from making blanket characterizations about millions of people.

Examples: People in Texas just do not know how to drive in the rain. Boston is a town of bottoms. Those dumb Georgia rednecks just sit in their pickups all day, drinking beer, fucking their cousins and eating dirt.

OK, maybe that one about Georgia was true. But you get my meaning. No state has the worst drivers. All Republicans aren't stupid. All Scientologists aren't batshit insane. Wait, that last one was true too. But seriously people, enough of that if you want people to respect your opinions.

5. I will not write boring rants about the everyday frustrations of modern life.

Examples: Posting lists of the inconsiderate things people do at the gym. Posting lists of the inconsiderate things people do on the subway. Posting lists of what pisses you off in traffic, at the office, at the beach.

I'm sorry, were you saying something? I was making an appointment to have my fingernails yanked out, when you got to part about how it drives you crazy when people don't step to the right on escalators.

6. I will only say something when I actually have something to say.

Example: Had a quiet weekend, mostly just laid around and channel surfed. I really need to get around to taking care of that front hedge, but I guess that can wait. The O.C. sucked balls last night. OK, off to the store, we need milk.

I call these kinds of posts "pingers", because often it seems like the author is merely posting something, anything at all, so that RSS, Bloglines, etc will ping everybody that a new post has been made and therefore keep bringing readers to the blog, even when there is nothing to see. LiveJournalers seem to do this the most, but that's probably just a manifestation of their (cough) unique group culture, Joe said politely, nervously looking over his shoulder.

7. When I say something, it stays said.

Example: I took down last night's post. I should learn not to come home and try to blog while I'm still drunk. I said some pretty cruel things about my ex and even if they are true I need to learn to keep stuff like that to myself. Oh well, that's why they have "delete". LOLOL!!!

It has always surprised me at how often bloggers will have second thoughts and remove their own words. Stick to your guns, I always say. Wait, I never say that. Stand by your man, I always say. Wait...

8. I will never inflict a meme/quiz/whimsical survey upon my readers.

Example: Check out this Quizilla *survey*. I never knew what kind of salad dressing I am, but I guess French Dressing makes sense because I totally love to kiss! LOLOL! But OMG! What if it said I was Greek? LOLOL!

Stop it, people. All of it. Stop it all RIGHT NOW. Enough. More than enough. Lalalalala, I can't hear you!

9. I will keep my blog looking clean and spare.

Examples: Things that make me lose interest in the actual blog: flash animation, instant-on music, excessive graphics, and other blog add-ons like surveys, shoutboxes, wish lists.

My shiny penny syndrome causes me to get distracted by lots of ancillary text placed outside the core text area. And I know you don't think I'm gonna click that wish-list button and tell Miss Amazon I wanna send you a copy of Glitter, because I was so fucking impressed by your breathless, 600-word recounting of last night's America's Next Top Model. But basically, it's my own ADD problems that make it hard for me to focus of what is being said on the blogs with lots of busy boxes. My issue, not yours.

10. When I stop writing my blog, I'll stay stopped.

Examples: I could mention some bloggers who have made dramatic farewell speeches, with a tear-stained lace handkerchief pressed to their heaving bosom, before loudly and with maximum attention grabbing drama, throwing themselves off of Blogger Bluff, with their final words, "You never loved meeeeee!" hanging in the spooky mist as their unappreciated selves splatter on the windswept rocks, and then after three days we find the cave empty, because they restarted their blog, just like Jesus did. Or so I'm told. Anyway, I'm not going to mention them. Because I'm sweet.

I think it was the that deadpan culture critic, Troubled Diva, whose acidic pronoucements on popular trends gave us this gem, "Sweetie, REstarting your blog is the NEW starting your blog!"

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