Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Why I do what I do
What I really enjoy about the way that I blog is to meet a standard and achieve a monthly goal.
Thanks to a variety of tools, I've easy time of finding images and visual things to cue the reader. Yes, I do worry about violating a copyright when it comes to citing works, but it is never intentional, and I am always trying to stay within fair use guidelines. I think that by honestly adhering to those policies, you can avoid a lot of issues.
That said, I think you have to be prepared to take things down without any fuss, and I certainly have no problem taking something down. Hasn't happened yet, knock on wood.
The photo above is by Stephen Oachs, and I think it is fabulous. I picked it up off Tumblr, and if someone really wants to sit down and pitch a fit about copyright, then they should address the situation on Tumblr, where everything is copied, re-transmitted, reblogged and recycled. Tumblr is a great tool, but that's where, at least in my mind, any discussion about this issue could go off on a wild tangent.
Every post has to have a headline. I work hard at mine, in order to capture something different. Except for the headline to this piece, of course. Ugh, how bland.
I try to deliberately write a lede that does not resemble one that a journalist would write. I try to make it clean and quick. Simple words when possible. Grab, hold, then explain, and then explain why, with reasoning and evidence where possible.
Where possible, I keep the quoted post to a limit of three paragraphs. Visually, I think it helps to write as much, if not more, than what is cited. This is analysis and reaction, after all. This is not supposed to be the republication of the same idea with that all-encompassing lazy blogger's reaction of "indeed!" attached to it. Sometimes, you can't add much. But add value.
I always tag and categorize, and I always spell check. Then I do a gut check and re-read for common sense.
Common sense is probably the most underrated skill in blogging. You can argue all you want about something, but if it doesn't make sense in the context of the culture and times in which we live, forget it. Someone who has lived in a city their whole live cannot understand why you may have to live a completely different way in another part of the country. Someone who has never served in the military is never going to understand certain traditions or practices. Same goes for me. I don't know everything, and I always try to remember that.