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.
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.
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!
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!
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