“Mom, my friends read your blog”
I was surprised. “they do? how did they find out? I always refer to you as M in my entries”
“Mom, duh, you place photos of me and besides word spreads around in the local blogosphere. Your sex education entry made them laugh that I just had to read it myself.”
(Hi M’s friends *waves* to M’s friends)
My daughter M is a very private person. Though she owns a blog, she keeps it in a private url for 5 close friends. Soon, she might start a public blog showcasing random photos or anything under the sun.
“Just make sure you don’t write anything negative about me” she continued on. Then added “and make sure I look good in any photo you post. My _____ happens to read your blog. ”
I assured her, “Ah I don’t and besides I am not about to wash my dirty linen for the whole internet to see”
It got me thinking , this blog belongs in the personal blog category. It revolves around my life, the travails of my grief journey and the road to recovery. My family is also my life and naturally I will mention them from time to time. When I started this blog, I felt squeamish about revealing the sordid details of my life . But how else will readers empathize ? I needed to write on a personal level.
If there are lessons to be learned in my 14 months of blogging and getting more exposure is that sooner or later , intrigues arise. Take for instance, a certain blogger might read entries about your spirituality and starts judging your character. Or someone criticizes your writing style. Do you think blogs are read because they convey journalistic or linguistic appeal to readers ? Blogs are not newspapers. If they don’t like how bloggers write, grab a newspaper or magazine, for crying out loud. Better yet, close the browser and blog about how crappy we are in their own blog.
Anyway, I digress.
A [tag]personal blog[/tag] is personal. I go out of my way to relate relevant experiences and include the advice, lessons or gifts learned from it. If my readers didn’t care about my opinion , would they be reading my blog? If they didn’t care, they’d hop on to the next blog. Reading the human emotions associated with the blogger and the interactive discussions is what separates blogging from traditional media.
Aside from common-sense , avoidance of personal attacks and posting non-bloggable items, how personal should a personal blog be?
1. A blog with emotions has a soul. Bear your heart a little. Show your personality. We all have good and bad days. Whenever I paint a picture of a bad day, I try to look for the silver lining. Remember feelings are very universal. At one point in our life, we all faced some sort of loss. Writing about my painful feelings connects me to my readers.
2. Impart valuable lessons. I put off writing a blog because I lacked the writing abilities. I know I had a lot of lessons to share but I was insecure of my writing. I was so concerned that I won’t be able to tell my story the right way. I feared the grammar whores or nazis would start throwing potatoes at me, but I started one anyway. My first few entries contained less than 100 words yet I wanted to improve somehow. I read a few tips from “Make your Words Work- by Gary Provost”, a book I picked up from Lauren’s book shelf. I continue to hone my writing skills every day.
3. The act of writing is basically an act of conversation. You will see that I often use conversation or story telling in my blog posts. I want to talk to you as if you were with me in a coffee shop. Tell your story. Talk to me. Each one of us has something valuable to say and the blogosphere benefits with all our contribution.
Just you know, I obtained Lauren’s permission on the A Daughter’s Crush and Fears entry because she knows a few parents who are still control freaks. Though the original intention of the entry is for lessons learned, the “crush” engaged the imagination of the readers. It intrigued readers to the extent that I received 40 comments , emails and IM’s on queries over the identity of her crush. Stories in an entry are the most powerful ways of engaging and impacting readers. Use first person blogging more often than third person in a sentence .
(follow up post to the “crush entry” might just happen. Keep tuned)
4. Balance success and failure stories with a bit of humor. There is nothing as inspiring as reading how one survived shortcomings or failures. Show the lessons learned or the gifts derived from each of these failures, mistakes or shortcomings. It’s not that readers like to gloss over our failures. To err is human and it’s natural that people love vulnerability. Showing readers that I makes mistakes helps to show I am real. They just need a little inspirational boost.
5. Involve your readers. Using “you” creates discussion and ignites interest in your entry. It also makes readers connected with you and give them the feeling of importance.
Some fine examples of personal blogs are found at the Pinoy Moms Network that Connie and I started. Remember these moms are raising the children of the future. We have close to 70 amazing mothers ranging from 21 to 65 years old whose blogs provide a lot of insights on breastfeeding, wellness, single parenting, raising special children and kids of all ages.
Even reading tech blogs, photo or lifestyle blog with that personal touch makes it a more interesting read.
The question really is How personal should a blog be? How do you convey a personal touch to your readers? I am sure I will get more ideas from you.