Friday, February 5, 2010

How to Stand Out

Actually, I don't know how. :) If you find out, let me know.

But I was lucky enough this week to be invited to speak to a journalism class at Texas Lutheran University about blogging. And it made me think about standing out, and blending in.

My sweet friend from Twitter, a little stripey orange cat named Cheshire Kitten, got his mom, Robin to invite me. Robin is a wise and sweet lady.

The class was fascinating. The students have been working on a blog this semester, and I fell in love with their subject matter. They were so purposeful. There was one boy who was going to write about his little brother and his accomplishments. One was going to attempt several world records, and chronicle them. A girl was writing about being a young girl dealing with Crohn's disease. One was writing about Asperger's Syndrome. Another was going to blog the goings-on in Marion, her hometown. A young man was writing about fitness techniques. A girl was writing about the death penalty, one about philanthropy. And more.

The subjects were fascinating. I wanted to know more about each of them. I showed the group this graphic, because I had seen it that morning. It says that only 7% of bloggers are in their age group, which represents a giant blogportunity for them! No one is speaking in the voice of 18-24 year olds, and boy do I wish I could. That's a big audience, and all of them are online.

Their questions for me were fascinating. Several asked legal questions, which shows they operate in a different world than I did at their age. One asked if it was ok to curse. :) Most wanted to know how to get people to read their content.

I have had plenty of time to ponder how to stand out, and how to blend in, both of which I think you need to do, to be a successful blogger. So this, in a nutshell, is what I tried to tell the class.
  • Don't be mean. Mean never got anyone anywhere except to the warm place under our feet. In art, I feel particularly strongly about this. Never disparage another artist on your blog.
  • Be positive. We all have challenges every day, some harder than others. Most of us come to the online community for inspiration and relief from the struggles of the day. Providing that to people is a gift that will return to you in spades.
  • Be yourself. Your unique voice is what makes you interesting. Don't stifle it. If you're quirky, be quirky. Never compare your blog to anyone else's - it doesn't matter.
  • Share. Not everyone has seen what you've seen. Many times I've posted a video I thought I was the last one to see, only to amuse and delight people who thanked me for sharing it.
  • Teach. People love to learn. Teach what you know.
Oh - and never post pictures of stitches or bruises!! :D

On the way home, I almost drowned going through a low water crossing. TWICE, since I had to turn around on an impassable road. I, of course, wondered - why do they call it a low water crossing if the problem is high water?

Anyway, at the end of the day, assuming you've lived through your poor decision to drive through rushing water, you need to both stand out and be yourself, but you also need to exist in peace with the blogging community, by being nice and kind and generous and obeying the Golden Rule.

So, as is my custom, I made a card to illustrate my theme. I hope you like it.Cardstock: Basic Black, Tempting Turquoise, Security Envelopes Accessories: Small Heart Punch, Dimensionals
All supplies Stampin' Up!

Tell me stories! I miss you guys. It's not Make Me Laugh Monday, but tell me what's up with you!

I gotta go re-watch the season opener of LOST and figure out this whole black smoke thing!

Have you signed up for the UBlue Cyber Club? Attended one of my Webinars?? Come on - get your geek on! :)

Want to see my other blog?

10 comments:

  1. How wonderful! What an awesome experience - talking with kids, of ANY age group, but especially those who are interested in what you have to sya and share. Such interesting topics and intelligent questions. I am VERY impressed.

    Oh, and BEA-U-TIFUL card, as always. xo

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  2. You rock, Lydia. *highpaw*

    Thanks for whatever you did to my human. She's been working MUCH harder to share me with the rest of the cat-loving public.

    I wish I could meet these wonderful students, but I get scared when I go out of the house.

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  3. What a cool experience. Love, love the card. I've been saving those security envelopes and it's all your fault. Ha! I just have to figure what I'm going to make with them.

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  4. Who better to speak to them that Kydia! You are the personification of a great blogger. I love you and all you do! Lucky kids.

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  5. Sounds like a really neat opportunity to go talk to those "kids" (they aren't THAT much younger than me, I guess, but they do seem like aliens sometimes! LOL).

    I love your card and I'm glad you didn't wash away - crossing water always freaks me out because somewhere along the way I was told it only takes a few inches of rushing water to sweep a car away!!

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  6. This is Cyn, from the class. I thought you might like to look at my first post. Lots of work to go, but I do thank you for all your help and support for all of us.
    Asperger's at College

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  7. what a great class! I wish that I could have been there.

    Cute card!!!!
    Mel

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  8. Lucky young adults to have you speak to them. Growing up is stressfull and they are almost there. Now they really need some wise words.
    I love your card.

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  9. What a wonderful presentation! Wish your advice would be guiding principles to the whole blogosphere. Way to teach!

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  10. What a great opportunity - for you and the kids!

    And, Ms. Kydia -- Please don't drive thru water again! If something happened to you, you'd be VERY missed...

    And did you figure it out? The smoke monster?
    I LOVE LOST!!!!

    kitty smooches from Smedley and Smudge to Maddie and Blotchy...

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