Up close and personal

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 πŸ™‚

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 Γ©lite 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 Β “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 entrΓ©e into an exclusive set? No. Nor did I want to spend any more of my time writing for someone else for no financial benefit.

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About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
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18 Responses to Up close and personal

  1. I think there is some good advice here but, if I may say, it is mostly about the sort of posts that you like to write and your own personal style and it is important to remember that people blog for lots of different reasons. If I like a blog and its style and content then I will read it and follow, if I don’t then I will move on and I am sure other people make the same decision about my posts and yours. When I post here is my check list – what I did, how I felt (but I struggle with this), an anecdote, a memory, a research result and a picture or two (rarely more, I don’t like photo blogs). I like your blog of course but it is mostly about what you think (and I enjoy reading about this) rather than who you are so I am left with an image of who I think you are rather than the person you tell me you are. Oh, and Daily post is a waste of time and I hate myself for getting dragged into the quicksand of the weekly photo challenge.

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    • LOL! That’s a blog post in itself. But for once I totally agree. Blogging is extremely personal, and what I want to read about someone is just that. It doesn’t mean it is right or wrong, just my innate nosiness. So that’s why I didn’t want to do a bullet point list of MUST DOs.

      I think I must be pretty fickle as I am looking to prune my follow list at the moment. I am more interested in the people who take the time to comment than the ones who aimlessly follow or click like without even reading.

      Some photo blogs are good, ie they actually write something instead of posting a photo and waiting for the accolades to come in. I also like the ones who explain what they have done to a photo and why (even if I don’t like it). But a single pic of bougainvillea without text – why is that any better or more interesting than my pic of bougainvillea?

      I don’t have a check list, but I do go through similar loops, depending on the post in question. Or the blog in question. My blogs are primarily writing ones, roughseas gets some pix, but I have a limit on how many as it is boring, boring, boring scrolling down 50 million pix, that’s why I use a slideshow if I want to use more pix, people can take it or leave it. My Everypic blog is not a photoblog hence the strapline, I won’t post a pic without a story. I put the photo challenges on there so they don’t clutter up my other blogs πŸ˜€ but if I have nothing to write about a pic, or nothing inspires me, I won’t play.

      Yeah, Daily Post is a waste, except I have found a couple of my favourite bloggers via it!

      My about me stuff is pretty factual. Qualifications, and my domestic situation. Pretty basic although laced with a slight touch of sarcasm.

      Like

  2. “Age?”

    Given my interest in history, I’ve often wondered how old readers think I am. Bet they’d be surprised πŸ˜€ This was interesting.

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    • Ha!! You are right. I have pictured you as an old fuddy duddy with your nose in old history books. Maybe not eh?

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      • Haha, with 2 inch thick glasses! And I actually average one history book a week. Occasionally you might find me reading a dialect/accent book or fiction when the library gets something in interesting. And as for my age, I think I should like to keep you guessing. Let’s just say I’m under 25.

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  3. Vicky says:

    Not being a big ‘reader’ I find myself getting bogged down in paragraph after paragraph of most word blogs, quickly losing interest. Yours I really enjoy, I find I flow through them, as they are well spaced and very easy to read.
    I love photography, so it goes without saying I like photo blogs, but as you’ve also said, photographs after photographs, without any explanation leave me cold too.
    Some good tips though, and I think I need to update my ‘about’ after reading them πŸ˜‰

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    • Long paragraphs get me down. But that dates back to my journalism, where every par was a sentence. I know my posts are long but I try and make them easy to read, so thanks.

      I think your about is ok, but maybe I know about you πŸ˜€

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  4. free penny press says:

    I think that was a really good post..that never was a post.. sort of.. I have enough information about me on my blog for this cyber world and if that’s not enough then they can just go read about someone who tells every life detail down to the check they bounced at the bank yesterday..
    πŸ™‚

    Like

  5. Perpetua says:

    Good and useful post, roughseas and it’s the Daily Post’s loss that they didn’t get it.

    As mine is an eclectically personal blog – life, thoughts, experiences, etc., I inevitably give away information about myself, but I don’t post photos of my family, nor do I identify them by name. I may choose to expose myself and my ideas to the public gaze, but they didn’t. πŸ™‚ I too want to know something about a blogger before I take time to read their blog, in the same way that I read the blurb about a novelist before opening their masterpiece.

    Like

    • It was a fairly basic one, mine tend to be a bit more – er – assertive and opinionated. I just couldn’t be bothered to change it. It was good enough. I wondered if it was change for the sake of it.

      I do want to read a little bit about someone, it doesn’t need to be too much, and over time, as you say, there is more to learn.

      Like

  6. EllaDee says:

    WordPress Daily Post loss, my gain πŸ˜‰ I’m glad you didn’t keep that post to yourself, as it reminded me to do something I had forgotton, which was to add the blurb from my gravatar to my About posts. Before following a new blog, I always check out the About post, mainly so I have a frame of reference for the posts. Controversial areas – hell yes!

    Like

    • Ha! You do the same as me. I have done it ever since I started on wordpress. It is really good. I like to know where someone is coming from, which is why I finally gave out my details…

      Like

  7. bluonthemove says:

    Apologies, I’ve been out of the blogosphere most of this week, which is sort of odd as its my first week of being (to quote AP) an International man of leisure. You’d think I’d be digging about for things to do.

    I think the ‘about’ page is valuable in setting the context for your posts. A sort of watered down “Skills and Experiences” can give you an idea of where the person is coming from and maybe a little about ambition so you have an idea of where they are going.

    Geography is important too. Where people live on a country level and other places they have lived can give an insight into things that have shaped their lives. It all helps with the understanding.
    Blu

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    • I like your summary. It is pretty similar to what I want to read. For some reason what I really want to know, nosily, is the geography aspect. Then I can imagine people in their environment.

      Congrats on being an IMOL, a bit like an IWOL πŸ˜‰

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  8. reb says:

    An ‘About me’ page, I think is a good thing, so that you get at least some little idea of who’s writing … if it’s male or female, location and so on…. and what they’re all about! I mean; they could state that it’s a political blog or religious as then I won’t have to bother at all.

    I got totally hooked on the Post a Day, in January 2011. I thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread, and they kept it up every day too [more or less].

    My blog is all about me, because I don’t know what to write about πŸ˜€

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    • Yes, it was reading other people’s pages, that made me realise I should stop being precious and reticent and put something up, even if it is rather flippant. I write about politics – sometimes – but it tends to be how it affects me or where I live. I might write about religion, one day, if I run out of other subjects πŸ˜‰

      When most of my blogging was dogblogging I used to cringe at the people who posted every day – it’s a nightmare to keep up to reading and commenting. People who post every couple of days are great – you don’t have a load of back posts to read if you miss a few days, and you don’t get fed up with reading them, you wait with anticipation for their next post. Now if only I could get my favourite bloggers to organise a rota of publishing to suit me.

      In a way, most peoples’ blogs are about them, even the photoblogs, because it is an expression of themselves. Whatever the subject, some are interesting and well done, and some are not.

      Like

I appreciate any comments you leave, so long as they are relatively polite. And thanks for reading.

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