Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Random Thoughts Are Better Than No Thoughts At All

Oh, wow. There are still people here? I thought this had become a permanent study hall. Sorry I abandoned you for so long. Part of the problem is that I don't feel particularly expert at blogging tips anymore. Whether your interest is better writing, better visuals, better monitization [is that even a word?], or some combination thereof, there seems to be someone out there writing frequently and consistently [sounds like saying the same thing twice to me; that said, the same post quotes what I think is a good rule: "Don't talk unless you can improve the silence". And if it only were silence!] on the topic, or topics, in question. In the past, I've linked to articles or sites I thought useful; lately, there seem to be so many of them that I don't know what's good or bad anymore. At the end of the day, though [cliches; avoid 'em like the plague], I think the same things that make any type of writing good make blog posts good:

-simple, clear writing is best. And this comes from your ol' buddy, Dr. Verbose! Seriously, the clearer and more easily the idea flows, the easier it is for the person at the other end of Said Communication to get the message. And, as the immortal Wedding Event known as the Hokey-Pokey teaches us, "that's what it's all about".

-plan before you write. I'm not saying outline the whole thing up front [most of us wrote the outline for our papers in school after we completed the assignment]. I am saying have at least an idea in your mind of where you're going [usually from Point A to Point B; by the way, what are Points A and B? And why should we care about them?].

-respect your audience: use proper spelling and grammar. Yeah, we're almost all of us a bit weak on points of grammar. But in this era of SpellCheck there is simply no excuse to mis-spell the words you choose. If you don't respect your words enough to use them properly, why should your reader respect them enough to read them?

Another reason that I've lost the fire that I once had for blogging tips is that I'm tired of Entrecard! There, I've said it. Everyone who drops here that hasn't received a reciprocal drop in recent days now knows why. Frequently in this blog, I've taken on the role of EC Whipping Boy. No, not the victim of scorn from the 125 X 125 crew; more the part of the person wielding the cat o'nine tails [in my own defense, I was only critical of those things that I felt needed criticism. Indeed, I was cautiously optimistic about EC selling ads in its ubiquitous widgets. The firestorm that blew up and out over the short-lived policy of not allowing paid-ad refusals was much ado over nothing: Since bloggers, by right of creation, own their blogs, of course they would have the right of refusal]. I stayed on the sidelines during the whole "must register to use Forums" controversy because, one, I almost never read them, and two, the whole EC Forum section has been so controversial as long as I can remember, it seems useless to tackle any one issue.

What else is making headlines on the 'Net? Facebook? As a time-killer extraordinaire, it's a little marvel [my favorite apps are, in no particular order, Street Racing, Metropolis, Vampire Wars, Mafia Wars, and the one that lets you "suck your friends' Lollipops"]. I enjoy taking a quiz or two, usually the ones that challenge my memory of 60's and 70's cartoon shows. And it is without question the best way to realize just how many people you went to school with that you don't remember anymore. But, when all's said and done, it's just as useful [mostly not at all] as Twitter. If you're a celebrity, trying to promote your agenda by sending out little messages to a large group of "followers", I get it. But for the average person, who cares? You're going shopping. Who cares? You're having dinner with friends [obviously, ones you think more highly of than the ones who are getting the "tweets", since you're having dinner with them]. That's nice. Who cares? (As for those souls who feel compelled to share information concerning their bodily functions, you have my honest sympathy. But not a bit of my interest.)
Don't get me wrong. I haven't yet given up on this space, and will post to it whenever something seems necessary to say. But you probably won't see a lot here, at least for the foreseeable future. Check in periodically [unless you're here daily, dropping, dropping, dropping those EC cards]. I'll show up just when you least expect it. And I'll probably yammer critically on something I know nothing about. It's what I do best...
-Mike Riley