One of the anomalies about WordPress’s Daily Post is that it isn’t.
Apparently set up to encourage people to post daily, one would have thought they could at least manage a regular post every day.
In my usual helpful and friendly fashion I pointed this out to them. I also suggested they might want to post certain topics on each day eg like the photo challenge on Friday (and even that isn’t every Friday when there are glitches). It could be top tips on Tuesday, how to write on Wednesday, grammar on Thursday and moaning on Monday. I’m allowing them the weekend off here in this hypothetical working week.
I even offered to write for them 🙂
Needless to state I didn’t get a response. I did however mention this on one of the posts and promptly got an email, saying my initial mail had been overlooked/lost/some other excuse.
They would be delighted for me to write for them. Oh very good. We agreed on a topic – how much personal information to write on a blog. I even got admitted into the WordPress Daily Post authoring of blogs élite circle.
I also got to check out the criteria. While my posts on here and roughseas are often more than 1000 words, I can manage to keep it below 500 from time to time. Just as well, as they wanted posts of 400-600 in length. I could live with that, but what I couldn’t hack was giving up editorial control of my copy, so I disputed that. I certainly didn’t want my British spelling changed for American. Horror of horrors!! We agreed that we would jointly agree amendments before I submitted it to the blog, ie I would send text via email.
But when it came down to it, I realised I didn’t like my style being changed at all. It was being watered down. Personally I think it is interesting to write what people shouldn’t write on a blog, but I had to consider “If you’re not comfortable with sharing ____, how about sharing _____?”
That is so not me!! I am not a sharing caring person. Those words don’t exist in my vocabulary.
But ironically, I had actually used quite a lot of questions in the post, because, in the end, it is someone else’s decision about what to publish about themselves.
That didn’t fit with the DP style either. I needed to bullet point them and make them into a list. I like bullet points ever since I learned them on my first newspaper when we made them by pen on typewritten paper stories.
However it is not up to me to be prescriptive. All I was doing was giving people ideas, and saying why they may want to – or not want to – consider writing up a small ‘About me’ post. The idea was for them to think but apparently people don’t do that anymore.
Anyway, here is the text of what I wrote, excluding DP comments because they weren’t mine. They were also in caps which I found extremely annoying, I don’t like being shouted at. After all, I’m certainly not wasting a perfectly good post so it might as well go on here. It would have been a bit more hard-hitting had I written it for this blog but it’s very different aiming at a wide and unknown readership.
I should add that there was no dispute with the DP, I just didn’t like the suggested changes to my text.
How much information do you give out about yourself on your blog?
There is a fine balance between boring your readers to death with your life history and keeping people interested by adding an anecdote or detail about you in an occasional post.
Over time, people begin to get more a informed view of you as a person, and of your life.
But do you want that?
I spent five years on Blogger before I moved to WordPress, and in all that time, I tried to avoid writing anything at all about myself. I certainly didn’t have an About page. My blog was focused on telling people what it was like to be an ex-pat living abroad, and trying to help people avoid some of the mistakes we made.
As a journalist I thought my writing was the most important aspect of my blog. Not my personal details.
Erica wrote a great post here emphasising the importance of that About page. Her first two paragraphs sum it up totally. When I find a new blog, I click on About even before I have read a post.
If there is no About page, I lose interest. The About page also means you don’t have to read back through months – or years – of posts to find out something about the author.
So, what do we all want to know about each other?
For me, I want to know where you live. Your country, and whether you come from there or have moved for whatever reason (you don’t need to add the reason).
Nor do I need to know whether you live in a flat or a house, whether it is rented or owned. That’s your business.
Where you have lived before is interesting though. I’ve added a Places I Have Lived page recently. The internet brings everyone so closely together that it is fascinating to find people on the other side of the world who at one point lived in the same city.
Relationships? Family? Yes, some is interesting, but not too much. You don’t need to detail how many grandchildren, great-nieces and great-nephews you have. ‘I am a grandparent’ is good enough.
Age? Not relevant. Pretty obvious by what you write about, or what you have done, how old you are.
Occupation? Qualifications? I have mentioned mine because I sometimes write about my professional areas of expertise.
Photos? Of course people want to see what you look like. Another one I didn’t like doing, but I bit the bullet in the end for a gravatar. There are very few pix of me on my blogs.
Home, environment, family? Yes, it is nice to see that , but not everyone is comfortable with posting family and home pix on blogs. It’s not essential.
Then there are the controversial areas. Religion, politics, environmentalism, racism – how much do you want to say about those on your blog? Does giving away too much about your views on those areas mean you alienate potential readers? I would say yes.
So there you have it. The Daily Post post that never was. Have I given up status, privilege, an entrée into an exclusive set? No. Nor did I want to spend any more of my time writing for someone else for no financial benefit.